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nicholson

Gallstones

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Hi folks:

 

Very quick input here:

 

Here is some information I believe may be worth CRONistas’ attention:

 

I recently had a routine abdominal ultrasound done with interesting results. All the organs detectable on ultrasound were studied and all but one were found to be normal (at age 75). The exception was a “large mobile gallstone” approximately 2cm in diameter. The advice is: “Should you experience discomfort in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen, come in and we will take a serious look at it.” So far it has been symptomless.

 

This may be of interest to CRONistas because further investigation via Google and Pubmed has revealed two apparently relevant facts: A) appreciable loss of body weight is a known risk factor for gallstone formation; and B) on average, gallstones grow about 2mm per year.

 

So, it is of some interest to me that: A) I embarked on CR in 2003, reducing my BMI over three years from 26 to 21. And B) if my gallstone has grown at the 2mm per year average rate, then it will have originated right around the time my BMI reached 21. So it looks to me that, although CR has amazing benefits, one of its disadvantages may be an elevated risk of gallstones.

 

Of peripheral interest: geographic and hereditary gallstone incidence varies considerably. While rare in asians, for example, they are common among native americans. And - very surprising to me - apparently there is enough similarity in the DNA of scandinavians and native americans that they must be quite closely related. And scandinavian gallstone frequency is about midway between that of caucasian americans and native americans. This may have relevance for me as there is other suggestive information that - maybe 40 generations ago - a Viking or two might have sneaked into my ancestors’ DNA.

 

So, if your introduction to CR entailed appreciable weight loss, it might be worth keeping in mind the possibility of an elevated gallstone risk. And especially so, if you suspect you might have some viking or native american ancestry. Only a few percent of asians suffer gallstones; in North America, it is about 15%; in scandinavian countries between 20% and 30%; and among native americans, roughly half.

 

Gallstones do not usually present major health problems, although surgery is the only practical solution if they do cause trouble. But there are some infrequent gallstone occurrences that are potentially very serious. And although the risk of gallbladder cancer is nine times greater among people with stones than in those without - and it needs to be caught early - in both cases incidence is not very substantially above zero. Hope this may help.

 

All the best,

 

Rodney.

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Yes, I had mine removed this year actually. I had reservations about the surgery but it went well and my digestive system actually seems to work better without a gallbladder, I haven’t noticed any downside, and hey, it’s one less organ that can get cancer. I posted more about this previously (even a pic of my gallbladder cut open, haha):

https://www.crsociety.org/topic/12272-anyone-know-about-gallstones/

there is some pretty fantastic cutting edge tech now for removing stones without surgery but currently this is only approved for limited cases (duct stones) so who knows when it may be available for wider use.

 

In my case, I had symptoms even before CR, but I’m sure CR didn’t help. I also have 5 close blood relatives that had theirs removed so very strong family history. A gallbladder attack is not fun, let me tell ya, most women who have had them say it’s worse than childbirth. I was stubborn and didn’t see a doc about it for years until the pain came one day and just wouldn’t go away.

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