Global Warming Causing Kidney Stones — Especially in Men

The Sun/NASA

The Sun/NASA

One more reason to hate Global Warming: Kidney stones.


According to Dr. David Goldfarb, Chief of Nephrology and VA NYHHS ACOS of Research, projections have shown that global warming will extend the “stone belt” from the southern US to the Midwest and then the north.

Dr. Goldfarb is co-author with Dr. Robert J. Fakheri, NYU School of Medicine, of an article entitled, “Ambient Temperature as a Contributor to Kidney Stone Formation:  Implications of Global Warming.”  The article appears in Kidney International, 2011.

Will this environmental change affect both men and women?  “We showed that men were much more affected than women by heat,” noted Dr. Goldfarb. “As average temperature goes up state-by-state, the prevalence of stones goes up but the slope is much steeper for men than for women. Not sure why, but possibly men have more outdoor jobs and some evidence shows that women do a better job of drinking more when it’s hot,” he explained.

“My new hypothesis is that the cause of increasing prevalence of stones is due to migration of people from rural places to urban places, which are significantly hotter,” Dr. Goldfarb explained. “On a day like today (high 90 degrees), the temperature in N.Y.C. might be up to 9 degrees hotter than in Rockland County. There are now, or soon will be, more people living in urban than in rural places for the first time in history. I have no data to support this causing more stones, but it’s quite plausible. Obviously, when people move like that they also change diets and work in less exposed places so, I can’t say anything more than it’s an interesting idea.”


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