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Mayo Clinic Minute: Where’s the Kidney Stone Belt? |

Where you live, what you eat, and how much alcohol you drink can tell healthcare professionals more about your risk of developing kidney stones than you might think.

Mayo Clinic nephrologist Dr. Ivan Porter II describes intense weather zones, such as the south and southwest, as the kidney stone belt. This is where research shows that kidney stones are more common.

Dehydration in these hot climates, combined with certain diets, increases the risk that can lead to pain from kidney stones. Additionally, Mayo Clinic researchers concluded that diets with a daily intake of calcium and potassium may help prevent early kidney stones or recurring kidney stones.

What enters the body ends up in the bloodstream, and the job of the kidneys is to filter the blood.

“They filter out electrolytes and minerals, and sometimes those minerals can deposit in areas of the kidney in the urinary tract,” says Dr. Porter.

These deposits are known as kidney stones and affect around 1 in 10 people.

Genetics, medications, and medical conditions can increase the risk of stones, but reducing risk starts with drinking more fluids, especially when you start sweating.

“Summer, lots of heat, lots of outdoor activity, maybe the same amount of fluids you normally drink, which might not have been enough to start with,” says Dr. Porter.

What you eat and drink is important. Sugary drinks, salty foods, and diets high in animal protein can contribute to dehydration and lead to kidney stones.

Dr. Porter says that if you notice any signs of stones, see a healthcare professional.

“Abdominal pain, groin pain, back pain, radiating pain that occurs and sometimes blood in the urine,” says Dr. Porter.