Kidney stones can be hereditary.
Approximately 40% of patients presenting with kidney stones have a family member that has had the condition. This is especially true for certain genetic conditions that result in kidney stones. Not entirely. However, if someone in an individual’s family has previously experienced kidney stones, that person is at a higher risk of developing themselves.(1) The same is true if this person has already had one or more kidney stones. Once a person broaches this condition, they are at a much higher risk of experiencing it again.
At the same time, one or more of these other elements can tip the scales just as significantly when it comes to kidney stones: age (those over 40 are more susceptible); gender (male, more than female); dehydration; poor dietary choices; digestive diseases; other select medical conditions.
One Out of Four
Overall, only one in four kidney stone problems diagnosed in the United States involves someone with a family history of the condition.(2) This means, obviously, that 75% of sufferers are not facing their issues because of heredity.
The much bigger culprit, these days with regards to inching the incidence of kidney stones up, is diabetes. This condition can especially lead younger women to more prominently develop kidney stones. There has also in the U.S. been an alarming increase in incidence among young children. Though still statistically small when compared to many other ailments, kidney stones are becoming more and more of a problem, fed by in some cases complications after weight loss surgeries such as gastric bypass.
Evidence of kidney stones was found by scientists examining a 7,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, proving that the condition has been around for perhaps much longer than most people suspect. However, today’s complicated food advancements and personal lifestyle choices can abet the development of the condition.
For example, in 2008, the addition of melamine to milk in China caused a sharp increase in kidney stones among children. Similarly, eating too much fructose can lead to the metabolism to churn out too much oxalate and thus increase the likelihood of stones.
(1) Mayo Clinic – Kidney Stones: Risk Factors, Retrieved October 3, 2011 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kidney-stones/DS00282/DSECTION=risk-factors
(2) National Kidney Foundation – Kidney Stones, Retrieved October 3, 2011 from http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones.cfm