A recent study found that gallstone disease may raise the risk of being diagnosed with a heart condition in the long term by 23 percent. Scientists cannot yet explain the association but they advised patients with a history of gallstone disease to keep an eye on their heart health.
The study also found that gallstone patients can develop a heart condition even if they look healthy on the outside.
The latest analysis was based on medical data on 840,000 adults. Of these participants, those with gallstone troubles were 23 percent more likely to develop a heart condition. Surprisingly, the association between gallstones and coronary risk was even more significant in volunteers who haven’t been diagnosed with obesity, type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure.
Researchers explained that you can produce gallstones if there is too much cholesterol in your system.
In the U.K. and U.S., nearly ten percent of the population is affected by gallstones. So, about 30 million Americans are living with the condition. The nation’s medical facilities perform 750,000 cholecystectomies every year.
Doctors said the condition is spurred by several risk factors including age, a cholesterol-rich diet, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, women have a twofold risk of developing gallstones as compared to men.
Past studies had suggested that gallstone disease may be running in the family, but researchers have yet to demonstrate a cause and effect association between the condition and genetics. In short, gallstone can be triggered by the same risk factors as heart disease is.
Lead author of the research Lu Qi, who is a researcher with the Tulane University in New Orleans, explained that people affected by gallstone disease should monitor their heart on a regular basis.
“Preventing gallstone disease may also benefit heart health,”
Lu wrote in a recent paper.
The human gallbladder can produce small deposits known as gallstones in some high-risk patients. The gallbladder is a sac that stores bile when we’re not consuming food. Bile is a thick fluid required in the digestion of fats. Fats need to be turned into fatty acids first so that the body can absorb them.
The new findings were reported this week in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
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