Calcium supplements to blame for kidney stones?, August 22, 2010

 Mumbai: India’s young are getting hit with kidney stones. Paediatric urologist Dr Arbinder Singhal says: ‘‘We have been seeing about seven to eight children with kidney stones every month for the last one year.’’ In fact, an endoscopic technique called percutaneous nephrolithotomy that was used for grownups was recently improvised for use in children.
The Mumbai-based Paediatric Oncall Journal states that ‘‘kidney stones are not very common in children. However, these stones are being discovered now with increasing frequency, amounting for up to one in each 1,000 childhood admissions.’’ Paediatric nephrologist Dr Pankaj Deshpande says he has seen infants as young as six months with kidney stones. ‘‘We’re definitely seeing more children than before,’’ he says.

Most kidney stones occur when oxalate, a byproduct of some foods, binds to calcium in urine. Other common stones are calcium phosphate and uric acid stones. While no such reasons are established in India, Dr Deshpande feels that only lifestyle as the reason he would identify, is the rampant use of calcium supplements. ‘‘Another reason could be better availability of technology. A decade back, ultrasound screening wasn’t as frequently prescribed as it is today for children,’’ he says.

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