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Gallstones Causes and Symptoms



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Purpose of the Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small pear shaped sack that is appended to the bottom side of the liver.  The liver makes bile which is greenish yellow in color and this bile is secreted into the gallbladder where it is stored until the next meal.  Bile is made of electrolytes, drugs, waste products, bile sales, cholesterol and other substances.  The cholesterol that occurs in the bile comes from cholesterol that the body manufactures and also the cholesterol that we get in food.  Bile salts are made from cholesterol that is in the liver.  A short time after a meal, the gallbladder squeezes its contents into the small intestine.  Here the bile mixes with fats so that they can be properly digested.

Gallstone Symptoms

The gallbladder is not an organ you would ever be aware of unless it developed gall stones which obstructed the bile duct causing inflammation and other problems.  About 20 million persons experience gallstones or have surgery for these in the USA.  Most cases have no symptoms at all.  There are 500,000 removals of gallbladders and approximately 800,000 persons are put in the hospital each year for diseased gallbladders.  About thirty percent of people living in the USA over 60 years of age have gallbladder disease.  Only about 1 to 2 percent of these will develop complications such as pancreatitis, inflammation and bile duct obstruction.

For most people the painful attacks seem to arise then disappear usually right after eating a high fat meal.  The pain is normally in the upper part of the abdomen and on the right side.  It may radiate.  It is common to have vomiting and nausea.  Fever may be present if there is an infection.  An ultrasound device is used to make a diagnosis.

Gallstone Causes

Gallstones are crystallized cholesterol and they are rock hard in texture.  For gallstones to crystallize in your gallbladder, the bile has to be mega-saturated with cholesterol. Then the cholesterol has to condense into crystals and these must then continue to grow until they become gallstones.  This mega-saturation is caused by the liver secreting too much cholesterol.  Gallstones are much more frequent in older persons.  Genetics is most likely not a factor since forty percent of persons over 50 years old have gallstones.  If you are female you are twice as likely as a male to get gallstones.  Secretion of cholesterol into the bile is promoted by Estrogen.  Obesity increases the risk of gallstones because the fatter a person is the more cholesterol that is poured into the bile.  Overweight persons have elevated cholesterol synthesis.  A high cholesterol, high fat diet causes an increase in gallstones and these are more common in Western countries where the populace consumes a large quantity of fat and scant amounts of dietary fiber.  People with gallstones pour a large quantity of the cholesterol the get in their food into their bile.  This leads to mega-saturation and gallstones.  Consuming excess cholesterol is the primary cause of gallstones in studies done with animals.  All fats, and especially polyunsaturated vegetable fats, will make the liver dump more and more cholesterol into the bile.  Because of this, converting to vegetable fats to reduce heart disease risk, may expand the risk for gallstones.  Throughout the world, the more fat that is consumed by a culture, the greater is the occurrence of gallstones.  Gallstones are seldom seen in Asian and African countries.  Vegetarians rarely develop gallstones because plants have no cholesterol.  The cholesterol that we eat in food comes only from animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy.  The source of this information was excerpted from an article by Dr. John McDougall MD.  Click here - No Gallstones - to read the entire article complete with the medical studies that support the facts herein. 

WARNING!  This information is provided for academic purposes only.  Always consult a physician before using any home remedy or any other information on this web site.

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