Rising temperatures due to the climate crisis will lead to an increase in the number of people suffering from kidney stones – a painful medical condition exacerbated by heat and dehydration, according to a new study.
The researchers used two climate scenarios to estimate the burden of heat and humidity-related kidney stones by turn of the century in South Carolina – a state in the southeastern United States, a region that has currently an above-average incidence rate.
In the United States, about one in 10 people suffer from kidney stones at some point, and the incidence increases from north to south.
According to researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Chop), the number of cases will increase between 2.2% and 3.9% depending on whether greenhouse gas emissions are maintained at the current rate or are reduced to an intermediate level, resulting in a huge increase in healthcare costs anyway.
Kidney stones are caused by hard deposits of minerals (mainly calcium) that develop in the concentrated urine and are extremely painful when passing through the urinary tract. The incidence of the disease has increased over the past two decades, especially among people of color, women and adolescents.
Diet and lifestyle changes have contributed to the increase in the disease, but previous research has shown that high room temperatures increase the risk. The number of people seeking medical help for kidney stones increases after very hot days when the risk of dehydration increases.
“With climate change, we don’t often talk about the impact on human health, especially when it comes to children, but global warming will have significant effects on human health,” said Gregory Tasian, pediatric urologist at Chop and lead author. of the study published in Scientific Reports.
In the first modeled scenario, the average temperature would increase by 2.3C by 2100, against 3.6C in the second. Results from a wide range of climate model studies suggest that the average temperature could be 1.1 ° C to 5.4 ° C higher by the end of the century.