Dehydration is one of the risk factors for kidney-stone disease, says Dr Margaret Pearle, professor of urology at the University of Texas, and global warming will exacerbate this effect.
‘There is a known geographic variation in stone disease that has been attributed to regional differences in temperature,’ she said on the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
‘When people relocate from areas of moderate temperature to areas with warmer climates, a rapid increase in stone risk has been observed. This has been shown in military deployments to the Middle East for instance.’
With experts in climate change, she used models of global warming obtained from US government reports, which predicted temperature increases are based on expectations of future greenhouse gases.
Taking into account the estimated future populations, increased temperatures are predicted to cause one million to two million more cases of kidney-stone disease in the Southern states of the US alone, they found.