According to a new study by researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the findings of which were published in the Scientific Reports, the consequences of climate change will certainly cause kidney stones to become more frequent. While it is possible to take steps to limit greenhouse gas emissions and that could help mitigate this rise in cases, there will be some form of increase no matter what is done.
Over the past 50 years, human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels, have accumulated enough carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere to trap excess heat and affect the global climate. In last 130 years, global temperatures have increased by about 0.85 ° C. The rate of global warming has accelerated, exceeding 0.18 ° С in a decade, in the past 25 years. The health impacts of climate change are overwhelmingly negative.
Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. They form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances – such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid – than the fluid in your urine can dilute. Not drinking enough water contributes to their formation because more water in the kidneys helps prevent stone-forming crystals from sticking together. Higher temperatures are, therefore, more likely to cause dehydration, which in turn leads to the painful condition.
In 2017, a landmark article in The Lancet declared kidney diseases a global public health concern. It was estimated that around 20 million deaths that year were caused by damaged kidneys. The incidence of death from kidney disease increased by 26.6 percent compared to a decade earlier. This study indicates that this increase is partly due to climate change.
Climate change will affect all groups of the population, but some groups are more vulnerable than others. People living in small developing island states and other coastal regions, metropolitan areas, and mountainous and polar regions are particularly vulnerable.
Children, especially in poor countries, are among the most vulnerable to the health risks of climate change. They will be exposed to longer health effects. More severe health consequences are also expected for older people and people with a history of illness or health problems.
Areas with weak health infrastructures, mostly in developing countries, will be less able to prepare for climate change and respond without outside help.