Kidney stone, also known as kidney calculus or renal calculus, is a solid mass made of crystal-forming substances in the urinary system. Though all types of kidney stones originate in the kidneys, they may be found in the ureters, bladder and urethra.
AdvertisementsMany renal calculi of small sizes are formed and passed without causing symptoms. If the calculus is 3 mm or more, it may cause blockage of the ureter and associated renal colic pain.
Types of kidney stonesThere are several different types of kidney stones. Urolithiasis refers to all types of calculi originating anywhere in the urinary system. In relation to the type of their location, renal calculi are categorized as nephrolithiasis (kidney), ureterolithiasis (ureter) and cystolithiasis (bladder). Another type of classification pertains to the type of crystal forming minerals and organic compounds constituting these calculi.
Renal calculi containing calciumMost of the kidney stones are made of calcium compounds, especially calcium oxalate. Other calcium compounds are calcium phosphate in the form of calcium hydroxyphosphate (apatite), calcium phosphate carbonate (carbonate apatite) and brushite (CaHPO4·2H2O).
The calcium oxalate calculi formation is much dependent upon the type of diet taken. Low calcium diet can lead to increased oxalate absorption from the intestine and its increased excretion in the urine. The concentration of urine and availability of oxalate in the urine increase the risk of oxalate urolith formation. High intakes of dietary oxalates, high dietary sodium, low fluid intake, low potassium intake, low citrate intake and low magnesium intake are other risk factors for developing calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Persons affected by xanthinuria often produce nephrolith composed of xanthine. In very rare cases, medications like indinavir, acyclovir, sulfadiazine and triamterene may get deposited as kidney stones.
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