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Do You Know the 4 Female Risk Factors of Having a Gallbladder Attack? Asks Dr. Oz

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Gallbladder Attack

Will you be among the estimated 15 million women who will have a gallbladder attack sometime in their lifetime? Read on to find out now what your risk is as Dr Oz alerts women across the nation about the 4 risk factors of developing gallstones and having a gallbladder attack.

“It’s one of your most important organs and most of you ignore it completely - the gallbladder,” says Dr. Oz as he explains to viewers what can go wrong with their gallbladder and what the 4 risk factors are for women who may suffer a gallbladder attack.

The gall bladder is a small pear-shaped organ just below and connected to the liver that acts as a reservoir for storing bile made by the liver. Bile is a digestive juice that consists primarily of cholesterol, bile salts, and bilirubin―a reddish-yellow protein from the hemoglobin of aging, broken down red blood cells.

The purpose of bile is to carry toxins and other waste products processed by the liver out of the body, as well as help the body digest fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the small intestines. Bile empties from the gall bladder into the small intestines by traveling through small tube-like ducts called the cystic duct and the common bile duct. Eating actually signals the gallbladder to contract and empty its bile through these ducts into the small intestines to mix with food.

However, when bile is prevented from flowing freely through the ducts due to gallstones that can clog the ducts like trying to push a golf ball through a garden hose, the bile gets backed up in the gallbladder causing it to distend resulting in pain and sometimes infection that is diagnosed as a condition called “cholecystitis.”

Gallstones consist of two main types:

• Cholesterol stones that are usually a yellowish-green color, consisting primarily of hardened cholesterol. In the United States, more than 80 percent of gallstones are cholesterol stones.

• Pigment stones that are dark in color consisting of bilirubin from old dead red blood cells processed by the liver.

You can have gallstones and not experience any symptoms or only experience minor symptoms on occasion that can be confused with slight food poisoning or some other digestive issues. However, a severe gallbladder attack can be quite painful evidenced by:

• Gas
• Excessive belching or burping
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Right-sided chest pain below the rib cage
• Pain in the back right shoulder blade

In a worst case scenario, the gall bladder can become so distended from the backing up of the bile that it weakens the gall bladder walls which can then rupture and then inflame and infect the abdominal cavity causing severe pain and a medical emergency. Backing up of bile can also adversely affect the liver and the pancreas resulting in liver and pancreatic disease.

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While the exact nature of developing gallstones remains elusive, it is generally accepted that an imbalance occurs during bile formation by the liver. This imbalance may be precipitated by a diet that is high in cholesterol, high in calories, high in refined carbohydrates and low in fiber. Gallstones are also associated with a body that undergoes a rapid change in cholesterol and other substances due to a restrictive diet when trying to lose too much weight too rapidly.

Aside from diet, a gallbladder attack can be brought on by 4 identified risk factors that are sex specific. Dr. Oz tells viewers that you are at risk of having a gallbladder attack if you fall under the “4 F’s” of gallbladder disease

1. Being Female—Dr. Oz explains that this in part due to the hormones women have.

2. Being Full-Figuredobesity is a factor in both men and women and children.

3. Being 40+ years old—Dr. Oz tells viewers that hormones again are to blame due to women undergoing significant rapid hormonal changes at this age.

4. Being Fertile―having had children or being pregnant.

If you ever experience occasional abdominal discomfort and meet the criteria of the 4 risk factors of developing a gallbladder attack, it is recommended that you make an appointment to see your physician for a thorough examination to determine whether you may be developing gallstones that can be damaging to your internal organs.

However, you should seek medical help immediately if you suspect you have had a gallbladder attack and are experiencing the following symptoms:

• Abdominal pain lasting more than 5 hours
• Nausea and vomiting
• Tea-colored urine and light-colored stools
• Fever or chills
• A yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes referred to as jaundice

Treatment following a history of gallbladder attacks typically consists of surgical removal of the gallbladder, after which normal life continues with minimal health-related issues due to the gallbladder being gone.

For an informative article on how to reduce your risk of producing gallstones or experiencing a gallstone attack, click-on the titled link, “Getting Rid of Gallstones Naturally.”

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: The Dr. Oz Show