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A kidney stone primer

Drinking water is key to preventing kidney stones,

Drinking water is key to preventing kidney stones, which are more prevalent in the summer due to heat, humidity and lack of proper hydration, according to Mayo Clinic nephrologist William Haley. Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Kidney stones affect about 3.8 million people in the United States each year, and they are especially more common in the summer. The stones are small, hard deposits of mineral and acid salts that form when urine becomes concentrated. The minerals crystallize and stick together, forming a stone that can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball.

According to Mayo Clinic nephrologist William Haley, heat, humidity and lack of proper hydration all lead to a higher prevalence of kidney stones in the summer. Here are tips for avoiding and coping with kidney stones:

-- Hydration is key. Drinking more water is essential.

-- Diet is also very important to prevent stones. Oxalate-rich foods, such as nuts and certain vegetables, coupled with a diet that's high in protein, sodium and sugar, may raise the risk of kidney stones.

-- If you have nausea, vomiting, blood in your urine or fever, seek immediate medical attention.

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