As the world warms due to climate change, more of us will suffer from kidney stones due to hot temperatures and dehydration, research has shown.
Kidney stones could increase by up to 3.9% in US states such as Carolina, scientists at the Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia found.
Researchers used two different climate change scenarios to estimate the effects of global warming on kidney stone disease in Carolina.
Gregory E Tasian, an attending paediatric urologist in the Division of Urology at the hospital, said: “With climate change, we don’t often talk about the impact on human health, particularly when it comes to children, but a warming planet will have significant effects on human health.
Kidney stone disease is a painful condition caused by hard deposits of minerals that develop in concentrated urine and cause pain when passing through the urinary tract.
The incidence of the condition has increased in the last 20 years. Prior research demonstrated that high ambient temperatures increased the risk of developing kidney stone disease.
The researchers first worked out the relationship between historic daily temperatures and kidney stones in South Carolina from 1997 to 2014.
They used wet-bulb temperatures (WBT), a moist heat metric that accounts for both ambient heat and humidity, which is a more accurate temperature metric for predicting kidney stones. WBT refers to temperatures taken with a thermometer covered in a wet cloth, which are normally slightly cooler than ‘dry-bulb’ temperatures.
Researchers then used that data to forecast the heat-related number of kidney stones and associated costs to 2089, based on projected daily WBT under two climate change scenarios.