The association of nephrolithiasis with hypertension and obesity: a review

Am J Hypertens. 2008 Mar;21(3):257-64. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2007.62. Epub 2008 Jan 24.


Kidney stones affect hypertensive patients disproportionately compared to normotensive individuals. On the other hand, some prospective data suggest that a history of nephrolithiasis was associated with a greater tendency to develop hypertension. Newer epidemiologic data also link obesity and diabetes, features of the metabolic syndrome, with nephrolithiasis. In this review, the association of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity with nephrolithiasis is reviewed, and possible pathogenic mechanisms are discussed. Patients with hypertension may have abnormalities of renal calcium metabolism, but data confirming this hypothesis are inconsistent. Higher body mass index and insulin resistance (i.e., the metabolic syndrome) may be etiologic in uric acid nephrolithiasis as increasing body weight is associated with decreasing urinary pH. The possibility that common pathophysiologic mechanisms underly these diseases is intriguing, and if better understood, could potentially lead to better therapies for stone prevention. Both hypertension and stones might be addressed through lifestyle modification to prevent weight gain. Adoption of a lower sodium diet with increased fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products, (for example, the dietary approaches to stop hypertension(DASH) diet), may be useful to prevent both stones and hypertension. In those patients in whom dietary modification and weight loss are ineffective, thiazide diuretics are likely to improve blood pressure control and decrease calciuria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Nephrolithiasis / epidemiology*
  • Nephrolithiasis / physiopathology
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology


  • Calcium