Causes of Calcium Oxalate Dihydrate Kidney Stones
The main function of our kidneys is to remove materials from the bloodstream that have not be utilized by the body for carrying out its functions, as well as those waste end-products resulting from a metabolic process. These matters are eliminated out of our system along with urine secreted by the kidneys. Most of these materials are dissolved in water molecules present in urine. On the contrary, if they fail to disintegrate because of insufficient water available, they take the form of crystals. A build up of crystals in the kidney will slowly cause them to stick together and form semi-solid or solid masses of kidney stones. Though there are various types of kidney stones, calcium renal calculi are more popularly encountered. The other less common known varieties are uric acid, cystine, and struvite.
Calcium kidney stones are of two types, calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. Again, calcium oxalate can further be classified into calcium monohydrate and calcium dihydrate kidney stones. In much simpler words monohydrate contains a single water molecule while dihydrate consist of two water molecules, thus making the dihydrate calcium stone much easier to break for easy elimination. Calcium oxalate dihydrate kidney stone seems to be the most prevalent and recurrent form of calcium renal calculus in human beings.
Hypercalciuria and urinary pH levels of above 7 are the two body conditions that bring about the development of calcium oxalate dihydrate kidney stones. Hypercalciuria is seen when hyperparathyroidism or intestinal disorders that promote excess calcium absorption exists. Hyperparathyroidism as the name suggests is over activity of the parathyroid gland. This endocrine gland secretes hormones that regulate the metabolism of calcium. Over production of the parathyroid hormones cause excess calcium release in the bloodstream which in turn will lead to increased urinary calcium. The kidneys are constantly exposed to high levels of calcium in blood requiring them to filter out calcium salts regularly. This in turn will cause an accumulation of calcium within the renal system leading to kidney stones.
Excessive intake of dietary calcium in the form of dairy products, like milk, yogurt, cheese, ice creams, etc., will influence the intestines to absorb high levels of calcium, some amounts of which will eventually spill into the urine. Our body requires only about 1000 mg of calcium intake per day and an increase in this will obviously cause more urinary calcium levels, encouraging kidney stone formation. Increased gastrointestinal calcium absorption also occurs when aggressive doses of vitamin D supplementation are prescribed for long term use. This particular vitamin enhances the intestinal absorption of calcium.
Also, when a defect in the kidneys occur that permits excess calcium urinary excretion regardless of the body’s calcium stores, this aids in the development of calcium stones. This as a causative factor, however, is less common for bringing about hypercalciuria in an individual.
Now the urine pH numbers should be in the range of 6.4-7.0, and anything less or more could mean inviting trouble. Calcium oxalate dihydrate kidneys stones usually develop in urine with high calcium levels and too high urine pH levels. Maintaining the alkalinity of urine is usually recommended by urologists to prevent kidney stones, but excess alkalinity will also encourage kidney stones like the one mentioned above.