A LEADING surgeon has warned that the UK is sitting on a kidney stone “timebomb” fuelled by the growing obesity crisis.
Bhaskar Somani, a consultant urological surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, claimed annual admissions for renal stone treatment were rising by up to 10 per cent – with a prevalence 75 per cent higher in obese patients.
He said poor diets and lifestyles were a “key contributory factor” in the development of the condition, with consumption of too much animal protein and levels of salt creating a “breeding ground” for kidney stones.
Mr Somani warned nearly two-thirds of men and women in the UK are obese or overweight, and added: “When you consider the total number of hospital admissions for patients with stone episodes increased by 63 per cent to more than 80,000 a year over the past decade, it is clear to see we have a problem.”
The condition, which affects about 10 to 20 per cent of the male population and three to five per cent of women between the ages of 20 and 60, develops when crystals of salt accumulate into stone-like lumps.
Although the body tries to pass stones out of the urinary system, they can lodge in the kidney tube and cause severe abdominal and groin pain which, in many cases, can only be corrected through surgery.
Mr Somani said: “In the last 20 years, male obesity has doubled from 13 per cent to 24.5 per cent and female obesity has risen from 16 per cent to 25 per cent, with poor eating habits involving excessive protein and salt intake known to fuel the build-up of chemicals in the urine.
“Obesity also contributes to the development of diabetes and high blood pressure and, when all three are linked, they create a condition called metabolic syndrome which further exacerbates stone formation.”