One in 10 people in their lifetime will have a kidney stone — a small, hard deposit of mineral and acid salts that can obstruct the drainage of urine, cause intense pain and, if not treated properly, lead to long-term kidney issues. Kidney stones are relatively uncommon in children, but the number of cases over the past two decades has risen.
The treatment for kidney stones has remained the same for decades — increased fluid intake, limited sodium intake, diuretics and potassium citrate therapy. Lifestyle factors are typically blamed for kidney stones, yet twin studies suggest a genetic component.
Our sister blog Vector spoke to Friedhelm Hildebrandt, MD, chief of the Division of Nephrology at Boston Children’s Hospital, about new research that supports pursuing a genetic diagnosis for kidney stones, especially in kids.
“The minute we find a mutation that causes disease, we have the cause of disease in hand,” Hildebrandt tells Vector. “And finding the cause has consequences for therapy.”