Climate change means… more kidney stones?

Yep. Scientific American has more on a painful consequence of temperatures swinging upward unexpectedly:

In a study published earlier this month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, [Gregory] Tasian [of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia] and his collaborators reported that higher average daily temperatures increased the relative risk of forming kidney stones. The results indicate that the changing climate can directly affect human physiology.

“We were looking at what is the risk of a patient presenting with stones after daily temperatures rose,” he said.

The researchers in this case looked at a database of insurance claims from 60,433 patients from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Philadelphia between 2005 and 2011. They assessed the relative risk of kidney stone formation compared to a base-line reference temperature of 10 degrees Celsius using weather data.

When average daily temperatures rose to 30 degrees Celsius, the relative risk of kidney stone presentation within 20 days compared to the base line increased by 38 percent in Atlanta. Risk increased by 37 percent in Chicago, 36 percent in Dallas and 47 percent in Philadelphia. Increased risk in Los Angeles was not statistically significant.

It may have to do with warmer-than-expected average temperatures (like, when a heat wave lasts a couple weeks) making people sweat more, which dehydrates them, which results in more kidney stones. People who are used to the heat (who, like, dress for the heat wave whether or not it comes) would sweat less and get less mineral buildup in their kidneys.

Or it may be something else.

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