A new study from Johns Hopkins shows that obesity nearly doubles the risk of developing kidney stones, but the degree of obesity doesn’t appear to increase or decrease the risk one way or the other. This means that no matter how far into the category of obesity a person may slip, they have a very significantly raised risk of having to deal with kidney stones (as well as all the other diseases and complications that affect obese people).
“The common thinking was that as weight rises, kidney stone risk rises as well, but our study refutes that,” says study leader Brian R. Matlaga, assistant professor of urology at Johns Hopkins. “Whether someone is mildly obese or morbidly obese, the risk for getting kidney stones is the same.” The findings are published in the February Journal of Urology.
Over the last decade, several epidemiological studies have shown a strong connection between obesity and kidney stone disease. However, as obesity continues to rise worldwide, Matlaga and his colleagues wondered whether different subcategories of obesity, ranging from mildly to morbidly obese, presented different risks. Matlaga says that he and his colleagues aren’t sure why obese people are more at risk for kidney stones, though metabolic or endocrine factors unique to obesity are likely reasons, along with dietary factors such as a high-salt diet. The researchers plan to study these potential risk factors in subsequent studies.