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Systemic implications of urinary stone disease


Urinary stone disease is the third most common condition affecting the urinary tract. It contributes to a great deal of morbidity for both men and women, and cost the United States (US) over 5.3 billion dollars in 2000 alone. Moreover, it is associated with systemic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and other components of the metabolic syndrome. Reciprocally, these systemic diseases may be contributing to the rising incidence in urinary stone disease. Previously described mechanisms of stone formation attribute stone development and growth to the urinary milieu. While this may partly influence the process, it cannot account for the associations between systemic diseases and stones observed in large community-based studies. Here we present a review of the evidence demonstrating a link between urinary stone disease and components of the metabolic syndrome. We believe a vascular etiology for the initiation of urinary stones may tie these processes together.

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