The proper term for gallbladder stones are gallstones. Most often, it is even misspelled as gallstones. What are these? These are particles, solid in form which comes from the bile right within the gallbladder.
So, what is a gallbladder? It is an organ, small saclike one which is located within the upper right portion of a person’s abdomen. To be precise, it is located just under where the liver is.
Within the biliary system, there are organs that form part with it namely: gallbladder, pancreas and liver. What this system does is it produces two important things needed in digestion: digestive enzymes and bile.
The bile is important as it is does help when it comes to digestion of fats. The bile is placed right inside the gallbladder and release when needed.
Gallstones do exist when there is an excess, there is too much of either the cholesterol or bilirubin.
Two Types Of Gallstones
There are two types of gallstones. First are the cholesterol stones. These are formed wherein there is a much higher level of cholesterol found. It has been noted that about 80% of patients in the US that do have gallstones fall under this type.
Second type is the pigment stones. This is a type of gallstone wherein bilirubin is in excess.
Gallstones do come in various sizes. They can be as huge as golf ball or as tiny as a grain of beach sand.
The usual thing that happens to people with gallstones is that they will have smaller stones. Others will have one huge stone while some will have combination of a small and huge one.
With regard to symptoms of gallbladder stones, most often than not stones found within the gallbladder pose no problem at all. However, when the quantity is many or the size is a bit large, then there lies a symptom. This can lead to experiencing pain while eating fatty food. Also, pain may be present when the stones move out from a person’s gallbladder.
If the movement of the stones will lead to having blockage to any ducts which connect the pancreas, liver, or gallbladder to the intestine, there might be severe complication that may occur. When there is blockage it can lead to having digestive enzymes or the bile be trapped within the duct. Of which can lead to the inflammation, infection, having severe pain or damage to the organ. If such conditions will continue this may lead to death.
Who Are Affected
Gallstones may occur to anyone but there are some who are at a risk compared to others. In the US, approximately 20% of adults living in the US may in their lifetime have gallstones. Only a small percentage around 1-3% will tend to develop symptoms.
Those who are at risk of having gallbladder stones are the Native Americans, Hispanics, as well as Caucasians who do have European blood in them. As for African Americans they are at a low risk of having one.
As for women, middle-aged and overweight are at risk while men who are elderly will experience having serious complications of this medical condition.
Also, for those women who are pregnant, into estrogen or hormone therapy, or taking in contraceptive pills, they are at risk of having gallbladder stones.
Causes Of Gallstones
Keeping it simpler, there are only two ways when a person develops gallstones. One is when the amount of bilirubin found in the bile is of higher level. Two, when the cholesterol level in the bile is in excessive amount.
There are other substances within the bile that lead to the formation of gallbladder stones. To name some, here are they.
People who do have blood or liver disease do have a much higher level of bilirubin which leads to the formation of pigment stones.
Having a muscle tone that is poor may lead the gallbladder not to be emptied completely. Residual bile may often lead to the formation of gallbladder stones.
Who Are At Risk
There are people who are at risk of developing gallbladder stones. These are the following:
2. those who are overweight
3. people who lose weight quickly using starvation or crash diet
4. those who are taking in drugs for lowering the cholesterol level or contraceptive pills
Bottom line, if gallstone disease is left untreated there is a much higher possibility of having the life of the patient on the line. This will lead to having an inflamed pancreas or an infected gallbladder.