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The Importance Of The Gallbladder

When people think of overall health, gallbladders probably aren’t at the top of the list for many people, but when the gallbladder does have an issue, it can be fairly significant. Dr. Andrei Froehling, an OSF Healthcare general surgeon says that the gallbladder helps digest fatty foods. 



According to the National Institutes of Health, people over the age of 40, are overweight, have chronic diseases like diabetes, or eat high in fat and cholesterol diets are most at risk for developing gallbladder problems.  Women have a higher risk than men, as estrogen has been shown to increase bile cholesterol.  Gallbladder problems can present in a variety of ways, so it is important to be able to recognize symptoms.



If someone is experiencing a more chronic gallbladder issue they may experience nausea, vomiting, or increased bloating and flatulence.  Oftentimes, doctors say these symptoms will show up at night. Most people assume they are nothing to be concerned with and think they either have an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues but it could be something more serious.



A common problem that can arise is gallstones.  These are collections of cholesterol, bile pigment, or a combination of the two.  These can form in the gallbladder or within the bile ducts of the liver. Pain can radiate to the shoulder, or cause chest pain and might mimic a heart attack.   



Doctors urge patients to treat and detect gallbladder issues early.  That can be done by something as simple as just changing your diet.  Talk to your primary care physician if you have any questions. 

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