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reviewed 10/8/2018

Kidney stones: True or false?

Every year, kidney stones send more than a half million people to emergency department. But you can take certain steps to help keep stones from forming. See if you know the facts with this quiz.

True or false: Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to help prevent kidney stones.

True. Kidney stones start forming when urine has too much waste in too little liquid. Staying hydrated helps you stay stone-free because it keeps your urine less concentrated with waste products.

True or false: Carrying extra pounds makes you more prone to stones.

True. Obesity does raise risk. Even so, don't try to drop pounds by resorting to an extreme diet, sweating excessively or using laxatives. Doing these things can also make you vulnerable to kidney stones.

True or false: Eating a lot of calcium can cause stones to form.

False. Although most kidney stones are in part made up of calcium compounds, a diet low in calcium actually raises your chance of winding up with a kidney stone.

True or false: Adding more salt to your diet can help protect you from kidney stones.

False. Curbing sodium lowers the risk of the most common kinds of kidney stones. So don't add salt when cooking, keep the shaker off your dinner table and check nutrition labels to see how much sodium is in food before buying it.

True or false: If you've already had a kidney stone, you don't need to worry about another.

False. If you've had one, you have about a 50 percent chance of developing another stone within 5 to 7 years. Changing your diet and taking certain medications can help you avoid future stones. Work with a doctor to figure out the best plan for you.

While these tips may help you prevent kidney stones, it's helpful to know how they form—and what having one feels like. Information is just a stone's throw away.

Keep learning about kidney stones

Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians; National Kidney Foundation

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