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And here's another story about a simple approach to dealing with a difficult medical problem. Kidney stones are a common condition - and painful. As NPR's Allison Aubrey reports, the American College of Physicians has a new guideline aimed at preventing recurrent kidney stones in people who are prone to them.
ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Kidney stones are tiny clumps of crystals that cause agony as they pass through the narrow tubes leading to the bladder.
DAVID GOLDFARB: The kidney stone was like a big chef's knife being stuck in my back.
AUBREY: That's David Goldfarb, a physician who had his first attack at age 28.
GOLDFARB: I was nauseated, vomiting, very, very sweaty, and we had to drive to the hospital...
AUBREY: ...Where it took a heavy-duty painkiller to stop the excruciating pain until the stone passed. Goldfarb now directs the Kidney Stone Prevention Program at New York University Langone Medical Center. He says once you've had a kidney stone, you never want to go through it again. And he says drinking lots of water every day, throughout the day, can help prevent the likelihood of a recurrence.
GOLDFARB: My prescription is about 96 ounces...
AUBREY: ...Which is 12 glasses if you're drinking eight-ounce servings. That's a lot of water.
GOLDFARB: It's a lot of fluid, but you'd be surprised that when people understand that this is going to help them prevent kidney stones, they become motivated, and they find a way to do it.
AUBREY: Goldfarb has been giving this advice to his patients for years. And while it does not work for everyone, the American College of Physicians has now issued a recommendation to do just this - hydrate. The advice is based on a study that found among people who were prone to kidney stones, those who started drinking extra fluids throughout their day cut the risk of recurrence by nearly 50 percent compared to people who did not change their fluid intake. Now, it does seem to matter what people choose to drink. Experts say water is best, whereas soft drinks and soda, especially colas, may not be a good choice for kidney stone sufferers. Here's ACP President David Fleming.
DAVID FLEMING: For patients that I have with stones, if I find out they're drinking three or four Diet Cokes a day, I would strongly suggest that they cut that back to maybe one, or none, on a daily basis because that could be beneficial for them.
AUBREY: Fleming says the evidence on cola is not concrete, but it is suggestive. The thinking is that the phosphoric acid that's used to acidify colas can be conducive to the formation of kidney stones. Allison Aubrey, NPR News.
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