A recent survey conducted by Pristyn Care, a leading healthcare provider, revealed that people’s understanding of kidney function and risks associated with kidney disease is inadequate in India.
The data revealed that 1 out of 3 people believe that drinking beer helps treat kidney stones, which is a myth.
Pristyn Care-Lybrate Data labs conducted a study with more than 1000 respondents. Apart from limited understanding of kidney function, the survey also showed that 50% of individuals would delay kidney stone treatment for more than 6 months, leading up to 2 years.
“Our survey showed 68% of individuals believe kidney-stone removal surgery is safe yet 50% said they would delay the treatment for more than 6 months,” says Dr. Vaibhav Kapoor, Co-founder at Pristyn Care.
One of the most common risk factors for kidney stones is diabetes and hypertension, yet the study found that only 14% of respondents were aware of that.
The surprising results also revealed that more than half of the individuals were unaware that the kidney produces urine.
Only 9% of respondents were aware that the kidneys also break down proteins, and 7% knew of the kidney’s role in maintaining bone health.
With the popularity of fitness and bodybuilding regimes, many individuals have started incorporating protein supplements into their diets. While there is no scientific claim or medical studies, the survey showed that more than half believe protein supplements can cause kidney stones.
Rising cases of kidney stone patients
There is no national data on the magnitude of chronic kidney disease in India. However, the increasing number of cases of kidney stones is a warning sign. As per Lybrate, a mobile healthcare technology company, online appointments for kidney diseases grew by 180% in 2022 compared to 2021, with the majority consultations being for kidney stones. In addition, the number of men consulting for kidney stones is 3 times more compared to women.
Doctors stress on awareness and early diagnosis
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Vaibhav Kapoor, Co-founder at Pristyn Care, says, “Growing cases in the younger population shows signs of lack of information about the risk factors associated with kidney stones,” he added.
“Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent further damage to the kidney,” he continued, adding “These insights will help us bust the myths around kidney health.”
Warning signs of kidney stones
It is important to be vigilant about warning signs of kidney stones and immediately seek medical assistance.
Dr. Shalabh Agrawal, Consultant- Urology, CK Birla Hospital, explained that kidney stones can cause symptoms based on their size and location. “Flank pain (in your upper abdomen or back and sides), hematuria (blood in your urine), and urgency (to urinate) are common symptoms.”
Dr. Agrawal adds that complications can result in “fever, kidney failure, and body swelling.”
“Treatment is to relieve the symptoms and assist passage of stone. It can be medical therapy or minimally invasive surgeries like PCNL, RIRS, URS, and shock wave lithotripsy,” he added.
More about treatment procedures
According to Pristyn Care, RIRS or retrograde intrarenal surgery is a non-invasive advanced procedure to remove large kidney stones using precise laser technology.
Ureteroscopy (URS) is a preferred method for the treatment of small- to medium-sized kidney stones located in any part of the urinary tract.
In case of shock wave lithotripsy, high energy shock waves are passed through the body and used to break stones into pieces as small as grains of sand.
PCNL (Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy) is used to remove stones in the kidney or upper ureter that are too large for other forms of stone treatment such as shock wave lithotripsy or ureteroscopy.