Metabolic Syndrome and Nephrolithiasis Risk: Should the Medical Management of Nephrolithiasis Include the Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Reviews in Urology





Inclusive Pages





This article reviews the relationship between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and nephrolithiasis, as well as the clinical implications for patients with this dual diagnosis. MetS, estimated to affect 25% of adults in the United States, is associated with a fivefold increase in the risk of developing diabetes, a doubling of the risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease, and an increase in overall mortality. Defined as a syndrome, MetS is recognized clinically by numerous constitutive traits, including abdominal obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia (elevated triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), and hyperglycemia. Urologic complications of MetS include a 30% higher risk of nephrolithiasis, with an increased percentage of uric acid nephrolithiasis in the setting of hyperuricemia, hyperuricosuria, low urine pH, and low urinary volume. Current American Urological Association and European Association of Urology guidelines suggest investigating the etiology of nephrolithiasis in affected individuals; however, there is no specific goal of treating MetS as part of the medical management. Weight loss and exercise, the main lifestyle treatments of MetS, counter abdominal obesity and insulin resistance and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events and the development of diabetes. These recommendations may offer a beneficial adjunctive treatment option for nephrolithiasis complicated by MetS. Although definitive therapeutic recommendations must await further studies, it seems both reasonable and justifiable for the urologist, as part of a multidisciplinary team, to recommend these important lifestyle changes to patients with both conditions. These recommendations should accompany the currently accepted management of nephrolithiasis.


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