Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
Can you explain what a kidney stone is and how it can be avoided?
A: The kidneys help remove toxins from the body through urination. Sometimes, excess calcium and other minerals in the body become stuck in the tiny vessels within the kidney where the filtration of the blood and urine occurs. Over a period of time, these particles stick together, become larger and form into kidney stones. They are extremely painful. Some of these are small enough that you can eventually pass them through urination. Some become so large that they interfere with proper functioning of the kidney and require the need for operation. To avoid stones, eat balanced meals with higher carbohydrates and lower protein content. Also, avoid sodas and other carbonated drinks and lead a physically active lifestyle. Drink lots of water, at least 8 cups of room temperature water every day.