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Exercise Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle report at the American Urological Association meeting that women who exercise even minimally have a significantly lower risk of developing kidney stones.

Mathew Sorensen, MD and colleagues found that physically active women had an overall 30% lower risk of kidney stones compared with women who do not exercise, although in one analysis, the risk reduction was as high as 80%. They add that the intensity of exercises does not matter and there was no difference whether women performed mild, moderate, or strenuous activity.

Studies show that about 10% of people in the U.S. will develop a kidney stone at some point in their lives. Over the past 15 years, the incidence of kidney stone has increased 70%, and women are more likely to be affected.

The new study involved analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative, which enrolled more than 90,000 women, ages 50 to 79, from 1993 to 1998. They were asked about their diet, physical activity, and history of kidney stones, and followed up for 8 years.

They found that 87% of the women engaged in some type of physical activity, and they were considered the active group. When compared with participants who reported no physical activity, those who reported any physical activity had a significantly lower risk of kidney stones.

Theories that explain how exercise reduces kidney stone risk suggest that changes in vitamin and mineral handling are induced by physical activity, including reduced salt excretion, increased fluid intake, decreased blood vessel constriction, and improved bone density. Sorensen notes that there is a strong association between cardiovascular disease and stone formation, and reducing cardiac risk factors has a favorable effect on preventing stone formation, as well as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol.


Bankhead, C. Light Exercise Still Cuts Kidney Stone Risk. MedPage Today.


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