Each year, more than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. It is thought that one in ten people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives.
The number of people in the United States with kidney stones has been increasing over the past 30 years. In the late 1970s, less than 4% of the population developed kidney stones; by the early 1990s, it was up to more than 5%. The rates continue to increase.
The peak age for kidney stones is between 20 and 50 year olds. White Americans develop kidney stones more often than African Americans; men have them more than women. Other diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, chronic diarrhea, or kidney cysts may increase the risk of stones. Diabetes increases the risk of developing kidney stones, especially in younger women. Only
about 25% of kidney stones occur in people with a family history of stones. Doctors say they’re seeing increasing numbers of children with kidney stones.
Kidney stones are also more common after bariatric (weight loss) surgery. The stones are made of oxalate, which is normally absorbed by the GI tract. However, when the digestive tract is altered by the surgery, less oxalate is absorbed and more oxalate creates kidney stones.