The average North Carolinian enjoys a diet that is rich in heritage—and also rich in fat and processed foods, including mushroom-soup casseroles, mayonnaise-laden salads, and fried meats and vegetables. Our state is part of the not-so-illustrious “stone belt”—a stretch of the country, mostly the Southeast, where the incidence of kidney stones surges.
Although North Carolina may be in the lead for this unfortunate honor, Americans as a whole are making more and more kidney stones than ever before, according to recent research by Duke urologist Charles Scales, MD. Stones are most common in men and in people who are white, who are obese, or who have diabetes, but they’re also on the rise in all groups. “There are a lot of theories as to why,” says Duke urologist Michael Lipkin, MD. “The most commonly accepted is that it parallels the obesity epidemic.” An obese woman, for example, has double the risk of a kidney stone as a normal-weight woman.