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Recent research uncovers a link between obesity, metabolic health, and the risk of kidney stones, prompting healthcare providers to consider metabolic status in prevention strategies. This includes monitoring metabolic health even in individuals of normal weight and implementing weight loss interventions for obese populations as an integral part of kidney stone prevention.

  • Obesity and an unhealthy metabolic status are risk factors for developing kidney stones.
  • Metabolically unhealthy overweight and obese individuals show a significantly higher risk of kidney stones.
  • Assessment of metabolic status is critical for all individuals, even those of normal weight, in the prevention of kidney stones.

According to a national cross-sectional study published in Aging Male, there is an increased risk of kidney stones among individuals with varying metabolic syndrome–body mass index (MetS-BMI) phenotypes. Kidney stones are influenced by factors like metabolic abnormalities and obesity, and this study aimed to explore the relationship between MetS-BMI phenotypes and kidney stone risk.

Investigating MetS-BMI Phenotypes and Kidney Stones Risk

Utilizing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers analyzed data from 13,589 participants aged 20 to 80 years. Participants were divided into six groups based on their MetS status and BMI, ranging from metabolically healthy normal weight to metabolically unhealthy obese. It was discovered that all obesity phenotypes exhibited higher risks of kidney stones, with the risk increasing substantially when metabolic dysfunction coexisted with overweight and obesity.

Metabolically Healthy Obesity: Not a Benign Condition

The research reveals that the metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) phenotype, often thought to be a “safe” form of obesity, is also associated with an increased risk of kidney stones. This indicates that obesity, irrespective of metabolic health status, plays a critical role in the development of kidney stones. Hence, distinguishing MHO from metabolically unhealthy and normal-weight individuals is crucial.

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Shaping Future Approaches to Kidney Stone Prevention

The findings suggest that clinicians need to consider both obesity and metabolic health in their strategies to prevent kidney stones. This may involve weight loss interventions for obese patients and metabolic health assessments for all individuals, even those of normal weight. Further research is needed to elucidate the causative relationships between MetS-BMI phenotypes and kidney stone risk.

Ye, Z., Wu, C., Xiong, Y., Zhang, F., Luo, J., Xu, L., Wang, J., & Bai, Y. (2023). Obesity, metabolic dysfunction, and risk of kidney stone disease: a national cross-sectional study. The Aging Male, 26(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/13685538.2023.2195932