A hot cup of tea in cold weather is a welcome friend. It soothes and most importantly, warms. But with several newspapers reporting about an American man developing kidney disease from taking four litres – about eight tumpecos – of iced black tea everyday, you might want to reconsider excessive consumption of tea.
The 56-year-old man, who did not have a family history of kidney issues, is said to have gone to hospital complaining of nausea, weakness, fatigue and body aches.
“Tests showed his urine had high levels of calcium oxalate crystals, which form into kidney stones,” the Mail Online reports.
According to the publication, black tea contains oxalate which, when consumed in excessive amounts, can result in kidney stones. Dr Simon Peter Eyoku, a nephrologist at Mulago hospital, says excessive consumption of milk tea has the potential to cause kidney stones.
“We have three types of kidney stones – pigment, calcium and cholesterol stones. Calcium and cholesterol stones result from excessive consumption of calcium-rich and cholesterol-rich foods [respectively],” Eyoku says. “Calcium and cholesterol kidney stones are common in Uganda, yet they can be avoided.”
How can one avoid them? By taking your tea in moderation.
“Taking a cup of milk tea a day is best. And this tea should be a quarter milk only. The rest should be water,” Eyoku says.
Minimising intake of calcium and vitamin D supplements will also reduce one’s risk of suffering from kidney stones.
“Women who take calcium supplements after menopause sometimes get kidney stones,” Dr Vincent Karuhanga of Friends Polyclinic in Kampala says.
Eyoku also calls for limiting one’s diet to lean, dry (smoked) meat.
“White meat is the best alternative though,” he says.
Kidney stones are described as “abnormal, hard, chemical deposits that form inside your kidneys” by the Physician’s Desk Reference website.
The stones, which could be as small as a grain of sand, or even as big as a fist, are said to be common. The small stones, which can be located in the kidneys, ureter or bladder, can be painlessly passed out through urine. They can, however, cause pain if they become lodged in the urinary system, obstructing urine.
Diet, hereditary factors, weather changes and illnesses such as sickle cell anaemia and gout, can predispose one to kidney stones. Men, on a whole, however, are more susceptible to kidney stones than women.
Source : The Observer