Obesity and morbid obesity are medical conditions diagnosed according to patients’ Body Mass Index (BMI) and cause difficulties in moving and conducting daily activities as well as significant stress to the body and organ systems. Due to the excess weight, associated diseases may developed, including diabetes, hypertension, metabolic disease, cancer, heart disease and pulmonary disease. Both obesity and rapid weight loss are currently the main causes for the development of gallbladder disease as well: there is a connection between gallbladder disease and obesity.
Development of Gallbladder Disease by Obese Patients
Overweight and obesity affects the normal function of the sac under the liver, the gallbladder, increasing the probability of developing gallbladder function impairment and gallbladder disease. There a series of gallbladder diseases, including cholecystitis, which is an inflammation of the organ, choletihiasis, 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 overweight or obese. The research entitled “Lipids, obesity and gallbladder disease in women: insights from genetic studies using the cardiovascular gene-centric 50K SNP array” demonstrated the correlation between gallbladder disease and obesity, revealing that women are more likely to develop the disease than men. However, the study was not able to explain the causes for the correlation.
Gallbladder Disease and Obesity Prevention
In order to prevent gallbladder disease, obese patients 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 increases with the number of children a women has as well. Hormone replacement treatments also raise the probability of gallbladder disease and obesity in women.
The main symptoms for which patients should be aware of are pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, intolerance to fat and pain after eating, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. If a patient experiences these symptoms, a visit to the doctor is recommended. However, the most important method for preventing gallbladder disease is behavioral alterations, including a healthy diet and regular physical exercise, to reduce the weight and the BMI.
Gallbladder Disease Treatment by Obese Patients
In order to treat gallbladder disease and obesity, losing 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 behavioral changes and weight loss are not enough to treat gallbladder disease and obesity, physicians may consider the removal of the gallbladder through a surgery called cholecystectomy. Paradoxically, the risk of developing gallbladder disease is increased not only by obesity, but also by rapid weight loss, often associated with weight loss surgery. This is why physicians may recommend the early removal of the gallbladder prior to a weight loss surgery, in order to avoid additional complications in patients at high risk.