Uric Acid Stones May Indicate Arteriosclerotic Disease

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Patients with metabolic syndrome disorders, including diabetes and high cholesterol, may be more likely to develop uric-acid stones than other type of calculi, according to research presented today at the 103rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA).

The study suggests that patients presenting with uric acid stones could benefit from additional health screenings to identify these arteriosclerotic diseases. Researchers presented their findings in a special press conference to media on May 20, 2008 at 2:30 p.m.

Uric acid stones are found in approximately 10 percent of patients with stone disease and are the result of excess acid in the body. Insulin resistance is known to cause low urine pH, and researchers hypothesize that these patients would be more likely to develop uric acid stones (rather than calcium, struvite or cystine stones).

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By retrospectively reviewing the charts of 467 patients whose renal and ureteral stones were analyzed, researchers discovered a strong association between metabolic syndrome and urinary stone disease and concluded that arteriosclerotic diseases and hyperuricemia can be predictors of uric acid stones.

77.5 percent of all patients in the study had at least one disorder associated with metabolic syndrome. The distribution of stone composition was not associated with body mass index (BMI), lipid disorders or type 2 diabetes, but the proportion of uric acid stones in elderly men with hyperuricemia and arteriosclerotic disease was significantly higher.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. They include: abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen), high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance. People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (e.g., stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States; it is estimated to affect more than 50 million Americans.

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