Ambient temperature as a contributor to kidney stone formation: implications of global warming.
ABSTRACT Nephrolithiasis is a common disease across the world that is becoming more prevalent. Although the underlying cause for most stones is not known, a body of literature suggests a role of heat and climate as significant risk factors for lithogenesis. Recently, estimates from computer models predicted up to a 10% increase in the prevalence rate in the next half century secondary to the effects of global warming, with a coinciding 25% increase in health-care expenditures. Our aim here is to critically review the medical literature relating stones to ambient temperature. We have categorized the body of evidence by methodology, consisting of comparisons between geographic regions, comparisons over time, and comparisons between people in specialized environments. Although most studies are confounded by other factors like sunlight exposure and regional variation in diet that share some contribution, it appears that heat does play a role in pathogenesis in certain populations. Notably, the role of heat is much greater in men than in women. We also hypothesize that the role of a significant human migration (from rural areas to warmer, urban locales beginning in the last century and projected to continue) may have a greater impact than global warming on the observed worldwide increasing prevalence rate of nephrolithiasis. At this time the limited data available cannot substantiate this proposed mechanism but further studies to investigate this effect are warranted.
Article: Association between occupational heat stress and kidney disease among 37,816 workers in the Thai Cohort Study (TCS).[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We examined the relationship between self-reported occupational heat stress and incidence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed kidney disease in Thai workers. Data were derived from baseline (2005) and follow-up (2009) self-report questionnaires from a large national Thai Cohort Study (TCS). Analysis was restricted to full-time workers (n = 17 402 men and 20 414 women) without known kidney disease at baseline. We used logistic regression models to examine the association of incident kidney disease with heat stress at work, after adjustment for smoking, alcohol drinking, body mass index, and a large number of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Exposure to heat stress was more common in men than in women (22% vs 15%). A significant association between heat stress and incident kidney disease was observed in men (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.48, 95% CI: 1.01-2.16). The risk of kidney disease was higher among workers reporting workplace heat stress in both 2005 and 2009. Among men exposed to prolonged heat stress, the odds of developing kidney disease was 2.22 times that of men without such exposure (95% CI 1.48-3.35, P-trend <0.001). The incidence of kidney disease was even higher among men aged 35 years or older in a physical job: 2.2% exposed to prolonged heat stress developed kidney disease compared with 0.4% with no heat exposure (adjusted OR = 5.30, 95% CI 1.17-24.13). There is an association between self-reported occupational heat stress and self-reported doctor-diagnosed kidney disease in Thailand. The results indicate a need for occupational health interventions for heat stress among workers in tropical climates.Journal of Epidemiology 02/2012; 22(3):251-60. · 1.86 Impact Factor