Risk Factors for Gallstones
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop ]]>gallstones]]> with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing gallstones. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors include:
Higher Estrogen Levels
Estrogen is a hormone that is naturally higher in women. This is why women tend to get gallstones more frequently than men. Estrogen levels can also be increased with:
- Oral contraceptives
- Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy
Women that are pregnant or taking the above medicines have a higher risk of gallstones.
As you get older, usually age 40 and over, your risk of gallstones increases.
Obesity and Diet
Having mainly abdominal fat appears to raise your risk of getting gallstones. Being even moderately overweight increases cholesterol in your bile, which may easily form gallstones.
In addition, rapid weight loss or fluctuating weight can increase your risk because low-calorie diets cause the gallbladder to contract less. People who have had gastric-bypass surgery to lose weight quickly also have an increased risk for gallstones.
Lack of Physical Activity
Lack of exercise is associated with a higher risk of developing gallstones. This may be due to fewer contractions of the gallbladder.
Family History of Gallstones
Like many other conditions, gallstones tend to run in families.
Native Americans, Hispanic, and those of northern European descent develop gallstones more frequently than any other ethnicity in the US. Gallstones occur less frequently among Asians and African-Americans.
Diseases of the Small Intestines
Diseases associated with gallstones include:
Long-term IV Nutrition
With some medical care it is necessary to provide nutrition through the veins. The intestines are bypassed and the gallbladder is less stimulated since there is no food to process. This increases your risk of gallstones.
Adler DG, Baron TH, Davila RE, et al. ASGE guideline: the role of ERCP in diseases of the biliary tract and the pancreas. Gastrointest Endosc. 2005;62:1-8.
Ahmed A, Cheung RC, Keefe EB. Management of gallstones and their complications. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61:1673-1678.
Beers MH, Berkow R. The Merck Manual . 18th ed. West Point, PA: Merck and Co; 2006.
Gallstones. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamicmedical.com/dynamed.nsf?opendatabase . Accessed December 19, 2005.
Gallstones. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gallstones/DS00165 . Accessed January 3, 2006.
Gallstones. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000273.htm . Accessed January 3, 2006.
Gallstones. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gallstones/ . Accessed January 3, 2006.
Portincasa P, Moschetta A, Palasciano G. Cholesterol gallstone disease. Lancet. 2006;368:230-239.
Shaffer EA. Gallstone disease: Epidemiology of gallbladder stone disease. Best Pract Res Clin Gastronenterol. 2006;20:981-996.
Wittenburg H, Lammert F. Genetic predisposition to gallbladder stones. Semin Liver Dis. 2007;27:109-121.
Last reviewed March 2010 by ]]>Daus Mahnke, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.