Study of Veterans Suggest Kidney Stones Associated with Osteoporosis

Did you know that there are a variety of conditions which can occur in tandem, or even because of, another condition? According to Renal & Urology News, this may be the case with kidney stones and osteoporosis, a condition causing bone brittleness. In a study centered around United States veterans, researchers discovered that osteoporosis tends to occur in tandem with, or following, these stones. As a result, the study authors state, veterans should receive more bone mineral density screenings for early identification and treatment. Read the full study findings published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

The Findings

For their data, researchers sourced information from the US Veterans Health Administration database. From this, researchers discovered 531,431 with kidney stones over an 8-year period. Approximately 23.6% (125,418 patients) were also diagnosed with either osteoporosis or some form of bone fracture. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), osteoporosis, which roughly translates into “porous bone,” is:

a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.

Many elements increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Breast or prostate cancer
  • Medication use which causes bone loss
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or multiple sclerosis (MS)

Additional findings from the research study included:

  • Female veterans with kidney stones were slightly more likely to have bone fractures or osteoporosis.
  • Black veterans had significantly lower chances of developing osteoporosis than white veterans.
  • Type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and hyperparathyroidism increased the risk of having both kidney stones and osteoporosis.

Kidney Stones

Also known as nephrolithiasis or renal lithiasis, kidney stones are mineral and acid salt deposits that form and collect inside of the kidneys. These hard deposits, which resemble pebbles or stones, can often be painful, especially while passing through the urinary tract. Typically, these stones form when there is too much calcium, oxalate, uric acid, and other similar substances in the urine. When the urine cannot dilute these, and instead becomes concentrated, kidney stones form. Obesity, dehydration, supplement use, and bowel disorders increase the risk of developing kidney stones. While these may be painful, if caught early, most will not leave permanent damage. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pink, red, or brown urine
    • Note: Cloudy or foul-smelling urine may also be a sign.
  • A sharp and severe pain, usually in the back or side (below the ribs)
  • Abdominal and groin pain
  • Painful urination
  • Inability to urinate and/or a constant feeling of needing to urinate

Learn more about kidney stones.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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