Gallbladder disease is one of the most common conditions in the United States. One survey shows that over 20 million people in the United States have gallbladder disease. About 6.3 million of this figure are men and 14.2 million are women.

What is gallbladder disease?

Gallbladder disease is a general term used to refer to a group of diseases that affect the gallbladder, the small organ that sits just under the liver.

Inflammation is the most common cause of gallbladder disease. It is usually due to gallstones that block the ducts that lead to the small intestine. This blockage can cause the bile, the greenish-brown fluid that aids in digesting fats, to build up leading to tissue destruction or eventually gangrene.

Risk Factors

Gallbladder disease is more common in women than in men, however anyone can develop a gallbladder disease but there are certain factors that can increase one’s chances. These include:

  • Family history
    A family history of gallbladder disease increases one’s chance of developing it too. This can be attributed to the mutation in the gene that controls the movement of cholesterol from the liver to the bile duct or defects in certain proteins.
  • Those over the age of 60
    People over the age of 60 are at high risk of developing gallbladder disease due to age-related changes in the body specifically on the release of more cholesterol into the bile.
  • Obesity
    When one is overweight or obese, his/her liver produces more cholesterol, which overloads the bile and increasing the chances of developing gallstones. This explains why gallbladder disease is very common in the south where many people have an unhealthy diet, usually comprised of fried and highly-processed food.
  • Certain medical conditions
    People with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disorder are at increased risk of developing gallbladder disease.

Surgery for Gallbladder Disease

Doctors usually recommend the surgical removal of the gallbladder when it becomes inflamed or infected, causes inflammation of the pancreas, the gallbladder wall has calcified, and when the gallbladder disease causes repeated attacks of pain.

The surgical removal of the gallbladder (also called as cholecystectomy) is one of the safest surgical procedures.  It reduces the possibility of more gallstones developing in the future. Every year, it is estimated that over 700,000 Americans undergo this procedure.

Most types of gallbladder disease can be treated using surgery. Premier Surgical of Knoxville has a team of board-certified surgeons with specialized knowledge and skills in the diagnosis, pre-operative, operative, and post-operative management of the alimentary tract. Our experts can evaluate your condition and help determine if surgery is the best option for you.