Gallbladder Attack Symptoms in Obese People

Obesity is the latest known epidemic to mankind. In the United States alone, about 58 million people are overweight. Obesity increases the risk of death from co-morbidities like heart diseases, strokes, liver diseases, cancers etc. About 350, 000 people in America die each year due to obesity related diseases.
Obesity increases the risk of gallstones by 1.9 times. They are 86% more likely in people who are overweight. One in every 12 Americans have them. A total of 16 to 22 million people in the United States have them.


Connection Between Obesity and Gallstones

Intake of a diet which is high in fats and low in fiber affects the amount of bile production. The amount of bile is unable to process all the available fats. As a result, the amount of insoluble cholesterol and fat increases in the bile. The increase in the levels of certain proteins in the bile causes the cholesterol to crystallize. Inability or malformation of the gall bladder causing it to not empty its contents consistently in the small intestine also can cause it.

Why does Obesity increase the risk of gallstones?

  • Obese people generally have a high cholesterol level because of their dietary habits.
  • Obese people have large gall bladders which have may not contract and relax properly to empty its contents on to the duodenum.
  • Overweight people who undergo rapid weight loss and weight gain or who indulge in yo-yo dieting tend to be more prone to the said risk of developing them.
  • Dietary habits of obese people are responsible for this increased risk. No more than 30% of the daily expended calories should come from fat. However, it is important to include some amount of fat in the diet to stimulate the contracting and emptying of the gallbladder.

Obese people are more likely to develop gallbladder attack symptoms. Awareness of the signs is imperative in early diagnosis and commencement of the treatment.

Gallbladder Attack Symptoms:

  • The symptoms remain asymptomatic or latent until the size of the gallstones becomes more than 8 mm.
  • An intense pain in the upper abdominal region is experienced which increases steadily and lasts for 30 minutes to several hours.
  • Pain between the blades of the shoulder, lower abdominal region or near the pelvis is also experienced in a few cases.
  • Nausea and vomiting usually accompany these pains especially at night times.
  • Consumption of fatty meals also causes experiencing of sharp and intense pain.
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Belching
  • Indigestion
  • Gas
  • Intolerance of fatty foods
  • Low-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Some gallstones called silent stones do not affect the gallbladder, cause no pain and require no treatment

Risk Factors:

Apart from being obese and consuming starchy food, being a female above the age of 40 years is another risk factor for developing gallstones. Caucasian and pre-menopausal women are more prone to develop this condition.


People diagnosed with gallbladder attack symptoms are mostly recommended to undergo surgery. It involves removal of this organ ensuring no recurrence of gallstone formation by 99 percent.

Complications of Surgery:

Though in most of the cases, removal of the organ has no negative consequences, there are chances of developing gastrointestinal distress and persistent pain in the upper right abdomen. 5-40 percent patients who undergo the surgery are found to experience these complications. 20 percent of the patients are found to get chronic diarrhea too.

How can you bring down the risk of gallstones?

  • A diet which has healthy monounsaturated and polyunsanturated fats and lots of fiber is recommended. Soluble and insoluble fiber can help to increase the solubility of cholesterol.
  • Drinking lots of water can help the bile from a thick consistency.

1 response to Gallbladder Attack Symptoms in Obese People

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