Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your blood that can build up over time, narrowing the blood vessels and preventing the blood from reaching some areas of your body. There is a series of studies conducted that found the link between the cholesterol levels and the occurrence of kidney stones. Although the biggest risk factor for kidney stones is dehydration, researchers have found that low levels of high-density cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol, and high levels of triglycerides in the blood can lead to kidney disease, and the formation of kidney stones.
It has been reported that around ten million Americans are, in fact, in the early stages of chronic kidney disease which has a lot of similar risk factors as heart disease, the number one reason for premature death in America. But what role does cholesterol play here?
The Link Between Cholesterol and Uric Acid
High levels of uric acid in your body, a condition also known as hyperuricemia, can cause kidney stones. But how is this linked to cholesterol? Studies have shown that men with waist size larger than 40 inches, and women with waist size larger than 35 inches with high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high cholesterol suffer from a condition called metabolic syndrome
Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found that patients with metabolic syndrome usually have higher levels of uric acid in their bodies which lead to the formation of kidney stones. A 2011 study published in Journal of Human Hypertension has found that people with high blood pressure are more likely to develop high levels of uric acid in the blood, and, as we know, high blood pressure goes hand in hand with cholesterol.
High levels of bad cholesterol, or LDL, can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries which results in high blood pressure, so normalizing your cholesterol levels can lower the blood pressure, while also lowering the risk of kidney stones and kidney disease. However, there is still not enough scientific proof for the link between high cholesterol and kidney stones, but common sense bestows that keeping a healthy diet and lowering bad cholesterol levels can not only help with the prevention but also with the treatment of kidney stones.
Cholesterol Levels and Kidney Stones Treatment
Although there is not enough scientific proof that the high cholesterol levels and kidney stones are linked one to another, we should be aware that the treatment for cholesterol can immensely help with the treatment of kidney stones as well.
One should remember that reducing the daily calorie intake can lower the risk of kidney stones significantly, apart from lowering the levels of bad cholesterol. Avoiding meat-heavy diets, and opting for fresh fruit, such as apricots and berries, foods high in fiber and certain minerals, consuming the antioxidants such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin (found in legumes, grains, and nuts) can definitely help with the treatment of kidney stones. Also, statins which are typically used to treat cholesterol and triglyceride, have been linked with the reduction in kidney stone disease, according to the researchers from the University of California in San Francisco.
Work on improving your diet by cutting down on processed foods, sugar, and hydrogenated oils. Eating an abundance of green and colorful vegetables and fruits, consuming nonfat Greek yogurt and fish, as well as taking some supplements that lower LDL and raise HDL levels can also lead to the reduction of kidney stones. Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day, quit smoking, and choose unsaturated fats instead of the saturated and trans fats in your diet. Avoid poultry skin, red meat fat, plain dairy fat, and organ meats such as liver, and instead opt for fish and plant fats that come from avocados, seeds, nuts, and olive oil.
Drink plenty of water to flush out your urinary system and stay away from salt and animal protein. Try to limit your alcohol intake, as alcohol raises blood pressure, and therefore, raises the cholesterol levels and puts you at risk of kidney stone.
There have been some links found between kidney stones and high cholesterol levels throughout the years, however, there is simply not enough scientific evidence to support these claims. Although kidney stones can be associated with cardiovascular diseases, just like high cholesterol levels are, these conditions all go hand in hand and it is impossible to claim that there is a direct connection between the two of them. All the evidence we have now is just suggestive, but not conclusive.
So what can be done? Patients who suffer from kidney stones should not be scared to death and fear that they will develop a coronary disease just because they have a stone. However, it is important to stress that overall health of the body is crucial when it comes to the prevention of heart attacks and other issues. Keeping your bad cholesterol levels low and treating the kidney stones properly can lower the risk of other problems, and maintaining blood pressure, lowering the obesity levels, treating diabetes, and other chronic illnesses is definitely beneficial for the maintenance of kidney stones.
Scientists are working on the solution of this problem, and a myriad of studies is being conducted in the best medical research facilities all over the world to come up with an answer to this burning question. In the meantime, what we can do is lead a healthy lifestyle and get regular checkups to lower the risk of high cholesterol which may be linked to the formation of kidney stones and other urinary issues. In the end, keeping a healthy diet and taking care of your body is the least you can do to prevent diseases and live a long and happy life.