An unexpected pain of global warming

Stethoscope and $5 bills

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: What else can we attribute to global warming? Kidney stones?

Unfortunately, I'm not joking. Janet Babin reports from our Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio on a new study.


Janet Babin: The study found that about 30 percent more of us will get kidney stones because of climate change.

Lead author, Dr. Thomas Brikowski at the University of Texas at Dallas explains the correlation:

Thomas Brikowski: We know from the distribution of kidney stones within the U.S. that higher temperatures encourage stone formation.

Higher heat can cause dehydration, a major factor in kidney stones. The authors estimate that the annual cost to treat these new kidney stone cases will reach $1 billion dollars by 2050.

Margaret Sue Pearl: Well, it's cost of hospitalization, it's cost of surgery, it's cost of physician office visits, it's cost of emergency room visits. All of those things are taken into account.

That's study co-author Dr. Margaret Sue Pearl at the UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Big sun belt states, like Texas, Florida and California, will likely see the highest increases.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...