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Are Kidney Stones Fatal?

are-kidney-stones-fatal

ANSWER:

Generally, kidney stones are NOT fatal, but the condition introduces the threat of two potentially fatal complications. 

More Info: Between 8-10 percent of North American men will pass a kidney stone in their lifetime, and the incidence rate for women is roughly half this.  Researchers failed to positively identify any direct cases of death from kidney stones, but the condition introduces the threat of two potentially fatal complications.  Asymptomatic blockage of the urinary tract over long periods may lead to infection. In rare cases, kidney stones cause kidney failure. If you are questioning whether you have kidney stones or are experiencing frequent recurrence, take a closer look at these potential dangers.

Urinary Obstruction

When calcium stones grow large enough to block the flow of urine, they are typically accompanied by pain. This causes you to seek immediate treatment and ends the threat of infection due to blockage. However, some small percentage of cases involve no pain. You will experience only a change in urine flow. This condition is most common amongst recurrent sufferers. The longer a blockage persists, the higher the rate of infection. This is potentially fatal without immediate treatment. The primary symptom of infection is unexplained fever with chills.

 Kidney Failure

Certain groups are at a higher risk of experiencing kidney failure due to stones. The complication is very rare. The risk is increase for those with larger stones, a history of treatment with urologic procedures, past experience of blockage and infection, and more frequent recurrence. Kidney failure must be treated promptly to avoid long-term damage and death. Several symptoms are common with kidney failure, but they are difficult to recognize without familiarity. Anemia, loss of appetite, fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, and swelling throughout the body are all potential signs.

 

Resources

Morton, A Ross, and et al. “Nephrology: 1. Investigation and treatment of recurrent kidney stones.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 166.2 (2002): 213-218. Print.

“Kidney stones – Complications.” University of Maryland Medical Center | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2012. http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/how_serious_kidney_stones_000081_2.htm

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