Times Colonist

Grandson, 6, diagnosed with kidney stones

- DR. PAUL DONOHUE Your Good Health

Dear Dr. Donohue: My sixyear-old, very healthy, active grandson was just diagnosed as having kidney stones. His pediatrici­an said it is mostly genetic, but no one else in the family has had kidney stones. A friend told us she heard that stones could be caused by drinking Gatorade. My grandson has drunk a lot of Gatorade. He does not eat processed meat, nor does he have much salt in his diet. From the Internet, I came up with the enclosed article, which linked Gatorade to kidney stones. I feel that someone needs to inform parents that too much Gatorade in children can affect health adversely

G.S. An increase in children having kidney stones has been noticed. Some authoritie­s have speculated that the increase in stones might be linked to children’s greater intake of salty foods like potato chips, french fries and other heavily salted snacks. The sodium in salt leads to a rise in the amount of calcium lost in the urine, and, therefore, an increase in kidney-stone production.

Eight ounces of Gatorade has 110 mg of sodium.

New guidelines for daily sodium intake is 1,500 mg. To reach that limit by drinking Gatorade, one would have to drink 13 eight-ounce cans or nine 12-ounce cans.

Blaming the surge in the number of children on Gatorade seems iffy to me.

Your grandson would be better off substituti­ng some of his consumptio­n of Gatorade with water. He needs to cut back on his consumptio­n of salt from other foods, too.

Gatorade keeps him hydrated, but he can stay hydrated with water. Dehydratio­n is a proven cause of kidney stones.

I welcome other readers’ opinions on this issue.

Dear Dr. Donohue: Because of a backache, my doctor ordered X-rays. Enclosed is the summary from the radiologis­t.

I am concerned about the abdominal aorta, but my doctor’s office doesn’t seem to be. I would like to know the cause and what to do about it. I am 74.

Also, what does “grossly normal alignment” mean?


Your X-ray report remarks on your aorta, the body’s largest artery, which travels from the heart to the bottom of the abdomen. The report says: “There is heavy calcificat­ion of the abdominal aorta.” In translatio­n, that means you have artery hardening of the aorta, officially called arterioscl­erosis.

Most 74-year-olds have some calcificat­ion of their aorta. The body uses calcium like we use spackle, to fill in cracks and holes in walls. The aorta takes a pounding. It receives blood from the heart at high pressure. Calcium fills in defects that come to the aorta from years of living. In addition, cholestero­l and other material coat the lining of the aorta, and calcium deposits on those materials, too.

To minimize further deposition of calcium, keep your blood pressure controlled, cut back on foods that increase cholestero­l, like red meats and whole dairy products, up your intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and stay as active as you can.

Your last question about normal alignment refers to your backbones. They’re stacked up properly.

Dear Dr. Donohue: You printed two letters on headaches. I don’t see you mention the medicine that works for me — Excedrin. It takes only half a pill to end my headaches. My grown son has tried it, but he didn’t get good results. Just wanted you to know how well it works for me.

J.R. Thanks. Excedrin is a combinatio­n of aspirin and acetaminop­hen (Tylenol). Many Excedrin products also contain caffeine, which is said to enhance pain relief.

I’m sure readers will appreciate your testimonia­l.

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