New Delhi: There will be an increase in cases of kidney stones over the next seven decades, because of rising temperatures due to climate change, according to a new study.
This will happen even if measures are put in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The study, conducted by researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), was recently published in the journal, Scientific Reports.
Increased Incidence Of Kidney Stones In Future
The study found that the increase in cases of kidney stones will be steeper if no action is taken, based on data from South Carolina.
Even with mitigation actions, there will be a rise in the incidence of kidney stones.
This is estimated to cost the state healthcare system approximately $57 million in the latter scenario, and $99 if nothing is done, the study said.
In a statement issued by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Gregory E Tasian, senior author of the study, said the analysis suggests that a warming planet will likely cause an increased burden of kidney stone disease on healthcare systems.
Hard deposits of minerals that develop in concentrated urine and cause pain when passing through the urinary tract lead to kidney stone disease, which is a painful condition.
In the last 20 years, the incidence of kidney stone disease has increased, particularly among women and adolescents.
High ambient temperatures increase the risk of developing kidney stone disease, as demonstrated by previous research.
Model To Understand The Impact Of Climate Change On Kidney Stone Disease
In order to understand the impact of climate change on the burden of kidney stone disease in South Carolina in the future, the researchers created a model.
They selected South Carolina as a model state because it is situated within the “kidney stone belt” of the United States, the study said. The “kidney stone belt” is a region in the Southeastern US with a higher incidence of kidney stone disease.
The researchers analysed data from 1997 to 2014, and determined the relationship between historic daily statewide mean temperatures and kidney stone presentations in South Carolina.
Wet-Bulb Temperature (WBT), a moist heat metric that accounts for ambient heat and humidity, was used to conduct the study because it is a more accurate temperature metric for predicting kidney stones.
The researchers forecast the heat-related number of kidney stones and associated costs to 2089, the study said.
Two-Climate Change Scenarios Used
They used two climate change scenarios. The first climate change scenario, called RCP 4.5, represents an “intermediate” future with shifts to lower-emissions sources of energy, the use of carbon capture technology, prices on CO2 emissions, and an expansion of forest islands from the present day to 2100, the study said.
The second scenario, called RCP 8.5, represents a future with mostly uninhibited greenhouse gas emissions.
The intermediate future scenario projects an increase of 2.3 degrees in mean temperature per 5-year period from 2010-2014 to 2085-2089, the study said.
On the other hand, RCP 8.5 projects an increase of 3.6 degrees Celsius in the same time frame.
The kidney stones due to heat would increase statewide by 2.2 per cent from baseline in the intermediate future, by 2089, the study found.
On the other hand, kidney stones due to heat would increase statewide by 3.9 per cent in RCP 8.5.
The researchers forecast the total cost attributable to excess kidney stones would be $56.6 million for RCP 4.5, from 2025 to 2089, based on a baseline average cost per patient of more than $9000.
For RCP 8.5, the cost was forecast to be $99.4 million, the study said.
Jason Kaufman, first author of the study, said their analysis is a model to conceptualise how the burden of kidney stone disease is expected to progress with climate change, and also how mitigations to greenhouse gas emissions can offset some of this burden.
Tasian warned that a warming planet will have significant effects on human health.