Gallstones / Gallbladder Disease
Gallstones are typically very small, rock-like substances that develop in your gallbladder. The liquid in your gallbladder called bile helps your body digest fats. The gallbladder pushes bile through to the small intestine, where digestion begins.
There are two types of gallstones – those made of cholesterol (the most common), and those made from bilirubin called pigment stones. They range in measurement from the size of a grain of salt to the size of a golf ball. Cholesterol stones make up about 80% of the stones and, as the name would suggest, are mainly made up of cholesterol. Pigment stones are generally small, though like cholesterol stones, they are still able to block the flow of bile. Once they’ve moved to other ducts, they can often cause some form of inflammation that can be extremely painful. If they remain lodged in the wrong places for any significant amount of time, they could lead to severe infection or damage of the pancreas, liver or gallbladder. When left untreated, gallstones could be deadly. Be sure to pay attention to the symptoms of gallstones that include: persistent pain in the upper or middle abdomen, fever and jaundice (yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes).
- Those with a family history of gallstones
- Older adults
- Those with diabetes
- Those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Overweight or obese individuals
- Those who rapidly lost weight
- Weight – Even if you’re only slightly overweight, your risk of developing gallstones increases. People who are obese are at particularly high risk
- Diet – Eating foods that are low in fiber, high in cholesterol and fat
- Age – As you age, your likelihood of developing gallstones increases
- Diabetes – People with diabetes are at a higher risk than normal because they tend to have higher levels of triglycerides
- Rapid weight loss – Low calorie diets have a tendency of turning more cholesterol into bile while also prohibiting your gallbladder to empty properly
The best defense against gallbladder disease or developing gallstones is to watch your weight and reduce your intake of high fat and high cholesterol foods. If you’d like to learn more about how the Slimband procedure can help you control your weight and help reduce your risk of developing gallstones, please schedule a free consultation by completing the Find Out More form to the right of this page.