Whether you’ve already dealt with painful stones in your urinary tract or you’ve been diagnosed with a metabolic disorder and told you’re at risk for these unwelcome developments, your goal is to avoid stones in the future.
The team of urology experts here at Arizona Urology has the same goal for you, which is why we want to take this opportunity to explain the potential link between metabolic disorders and stones.
Stones and metabolic disorders — two separate conditions
To better understand the link between stones and metabolic disorders, let’s first take a look at each of these conditions separately before we connect them.
In the simplest of terms, stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that develop in your body, but for the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to focus on those that form in your urinary tract, namely your kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
Stones usually don’t cause any symptoms until they’re on the move, at which point they can find travel difficult, especially through small openings or passageways. As a result, they create very painful blockages.
Now, let’s take a closer look at metabolic disorders, which include any abnormal chemical reactions that disrupt your metabolism. When you eat, your metabolism is responsible for converting the food into the energy your cells need to function.
With a metabolic disorder, this conversion is affected, which can create an imbalance — either too much or too little of a certain substance, which can create problems with your health.
For example, metabolic syndrome is one such disorder, and we diagnose it when you have three or more of these five traits:
- Large waistline
- High triglyceride levels
- Low HDL levels
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar levels
Among the many complications that can stem from metabolic syndrome, such as diabetes and heart disease, stones also make the list.
Bringing metabolic disorders and stones together
Since stones are the result of too many minerals or salts in your urinary tract, this often means that there’s a problem with your metabolism, which creates an imbalance in certain substances.
To paint a clearer picture, let’s look at kidney stones, which typically occur when your urine contains too much calcium, oxalate, and/or uric acid. These substances are prone to crystallization and when you don’t have enough fluid in your urine to prevent this, stones can form.
There are several reasons why you may have an excess of calcium, oxalate, and/or uric acid in your urinary tract and metabolic disorders can certainly play a role. In fact, the prevalence of kidney stones is three times greater among those who have metabolic syndrome than those who do not.
The bottom line is that there is a link between stones and metabolic disorders, but stones can also be tied to diet, genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or urinary tract infections, to name a few culprits.
If you want to learn more about your specific risks for developing stones, we urge you to contact us at one of our five locations in Goodyear, Glendale, Gilbert, Surprise, and Phoenix, Arizona, to set up a consultation.