FRIDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that people who have kidney stones -- especially younger women -- are slightly more likely to develop more serious kidney problems later in life.
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The study, published online Aug. 30 in BMJ, doesn't prove that kidney stones directly cause serious kidney problems. But it does indicate that there may be a connection.
Kidney stones are common but it hasn't been clear if they have anything to do with later problems, such as kidney failure.
In the new study, researchers from the United States and Canada tracked the medical records of more than 3 million patients for an average of 11 years. Just under 1 percent of the patients had at least one kidney stone, and 4 percent of those developed late-stage chronic kidney disease.
There was a small increase in risk of kidney disease among those who had had kidney stones, especially among women and people under 50, the investigators found.
The researchers theorized that the cause of future kidney problems may be the calcification that occurs when kidney stones are formed. Scarring from obstruction may also be an issue.
Further research "should be aimed at determining the mechanisms explaining this association and assessing the optimal way to prevent kidney stones in the general population, especially young women," study author Marcello Tonelli of the University of Alberta in Canada, and colleagues noted in a journal news release.
-- Randy Dotinga
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SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Aug. 30, 2012