Kidney stones frequently occur among the elderly and those with certain medical issues.

This article, which is written for kidney stone patients and their CDPAP caregivers, goes over all the critical details about the condition, its causes and symptoms, the relevant treatment options, and how you can potentially prevent it.

What are kidney stones?

At times, minerals and salts can accumulate in the kidneys of the loved one that you’re caring for to form hard deposits. These are known as kidney stones.

Many patients’ bodies will break up smaller kidney stones and allow them to pass on their own. Larger ones, on the other hand, are more problematic and may interfere in your friend or family member’s ability to urinate.

To avoid this issue, caregivers should focus on helping care recipients lead a healthy lifestyle.

What causes kidney stones?

Simply put, doctors can’t pinpoint the exact causes of this medical condition.

Nonetheless, here are some aspects that could increase your loved one’s risk of developing kidney stones:

  • Digestive Problems
  • Genetic and Hereditary Factors: If kidney stones run in the family of the person that you’re providing care for, they are more likely to get them. This is because the bodies of people who have a genetic or hereditary risk tend to overproduce amino acid cysteine (which contributes to the formulation of kidney stones).
  • High-Oxalate Foods: Similarly, when your friend or family member is susceptible to this illness, their doctor will recommend that they avoid or minimize their consumption of certain foods. Examples include beets, spinach, peanuts, wheat germs, and rhubarb.
  • Lack of Water: Since the kidneys rely on water for cleansing and to create urine, a lack of hydration could lead to the creation of kidney stones.
  • Obesity
  • A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): A UTI is considered to be a direct cause of kidney stones. For individuals that regularly get UTIs and kidney stones, caregivers should consider using UTI monitoring pads.

When your friend or family member is at a high risk for kidney stones, you need to keep an eye out for the potential symptoms on a regular basis.

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Firstly, here are the most prevalent signs that suggest that a patient may have kidney stones:

  • Blood in the urine that is pink, red, or brown colored.
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
  • Constant urination.
  • Difficulty and/or pain during urination.
  • Sharp pains that are felt in the person’s back, sides, lower abdomen area, and/or groin.

Secondly, those with severe kidney stone problems typically experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Chills
  • A fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

After you take your loved one to the doctor and they receive a diagnosis, they will undergo a treatment plan that’s based on the severity of their kidney stones.

Treatments for Kidney Stones

A lot of the time, the patient’s body can get rid of small kidney stones without having to take any medications or treatments.

If your friend or family member has small kidney stones, you, as their caregiver, must encourage them to drink plenty of water and fluids.

Their doctor might also ask you to bring them the stone (when it leaves the body alongside the urine) so that they study it and rule out other potential problems.

Meanwhile, larger kidney stones require more advanced treatment methods. The following two are the most common ones:

  • Medications: Some medicines can stop kidney stones from increasing and/or getting bigger.
  • Shock Wave Lithotripsy: Urologists rely on this method to separate stones into smaller parts that the body can pass.
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: In a few words, this surgical procedure entails having the doctor directly remove the stones by making a small cut in the back of the kidney.

Being a caregiver, you should remember that these treatment methods may debilitate your friend or family member and put them in need of more help. Therefore, prevention, when possible, is always the best way to address this condition.

Food and Kidney Stones

Some foods could increase your loved one’s risk of developing kidney stones, while other nutrients can decrease or prevent it.

Foods That Can Cause Kidney Stones

You want to ensure that your patient avoids meals that contain these food products and ingredients in order to minimize their odds of getting this illness:

  • Alcohol
  • Beets
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Peanuts
  • Red meat
  • Rhubarb
  • Shellfish
  • Spinach
  • Wheat germs

Foods That Can Prevent Kidney Stones

Some types of foods might reduce the chances that your care receiver will deal with kidney stones down the road. They mainly include fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products (such as low-fat milk and yogurt), and whole grain wheat and bread.

Although the causes of kidney stones are still unknown, you should take prevention methods seriously to spare your loved one the stress and physical strain that’s associated with both the symptoms and treatment approaches.

This is especially critical if your loved one is at risk due to their low intake of water, dietary habits, genetics, and/or associated medical conditions.

You can achieve this by following our dietary recommendations above, staying away from certain food products, and regularly monitoring that friend or family member that you’re caring for.

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