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Gallbladder diseases include cholecystitis, which is an inflammation of the organ, cholelithiasis, also known as gallstones, gallbladder polyps and gallbladder cancer. The gallbladder is responsible for the storage and concentration of the bile that is produced in the liver and is released in response of food, particularly fats, into the small intestine.
Between 10 and 40% of all people suffer from some type of gallbladder disease, and the incidence is influenced by age, gender and other diseases. From these patients, about 69% are found to be overweight or significantly over the healthy weight.
A recent study demonstrated the correlation between gallbladder disease and increased weight, revealing that women are more likely to develop the disease than men. These findings were similar to a previous study that demonstrated that children who were over a healthy weight had a significantly higher risk of developing gallstone disease and this risk increased further based on the degree of excess weight. They also found that girls were more likely to develop gallstones than boys.
In order to prevent gallbladder disease, patients who are overweight should be aware of other risk factors that influence the development of the disease and the first signs of it. Not only are women at higher risk, but the risk also increases with the number of children a women has. The risk of gallbladder disease is also increased with hormone replacement therapy and having high cholesterol.
In order to treat gallbladder disease achieving a healthy weight is key, with diet playing a central role.
Eating antioxidant-rich food, such as blueberries, cherries, tomatoes and other fruits, as well as squash, bell peppers and other vegetables help reduce the symptoms. In addition, the consumption of fiber, healthy oils, lean meats and foods rich in B-vitamins and iron, such as whole grains, dark leafy greens and sea vegetables. Rd meats, trans fatty acids, alcohol and tobacco should be avoided.
Regular exercise also helps treat the disease.
When behavioural changes and weight loss are not enough to treat gallbladder disease, your doctor may recommend gallbladder removal surgery.
Paradoxically, the risk of developing gallbladder disease is increased not only by being overweight, but also by rapid weight loss and can be associated with weight loss surgery. Unsupervised, rapid weight loss should therefore be avoided.
It is important to discuss about gallbladder symptoms with your doctor prior to any weight loss surgery to discuss about ways to reduce the risk post-surgery.