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Gall Stones Essay

1248 words - 5 pages

GALLSTONES: What Are Gallstones? Gallstones are solid little balls that form in the gall bladder. Gallstones are created when bile substances, cholesterol and bile pigments, mainly,form together and create small odd shaped balls.The stones which form mainly from cholesterol are called cholesterol stones and account for 80% of stones found in the gall bladder. The other 20% of stones found in the gall bladder are Pigment stones. They are small, dark in color and are made of bilirubin and calcium salts. Factors that contribute to the development of pigment stones include, cirrhosis, biliary tract infections and hereditary blood cell disorders.Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand, to as large as a golf ball. Depending on the case, and speed of development, the gall bladder may produce many small stones, thousands, or few, very large stones. Gall stones can also form at any amount in between, but for the most part, the more stones the smaller each one is. The same goes for the bigger stones.Who is at Risk? At the rate we are currently at, for people living in the United States, one million will develop gallstones this year alone. Those million will become part of a group of about twenty million Americans, or 10% of our population who already have gallstones in some form. Not all people will have the same odds to get them as others. Americans who have the highest chance of developing gallstones are: o Native Americans.o All women between 20-60 years old, women are twice as likely to develop stones than men are.o Men and Women over 60.o Pregnant women, who before pregnancy had consumed birth control pills.o People who lose a lot of weight at once.o All people that are overweight.Mexican men and women of all ages.How do I know if I have them? Most of the million Americans who will develop gallstones this year will not even know it. These stones are probably too small to cause problems. They are usually detected during other checkups and if detected will probably by treated with medicine.How are they Diagnosed? Gallstones are usually detected during x-rays or ultrasounds, they are usually found by mistake or because of a complaint of abdominal pain. When looking for gallstone ultrasound is the most common tool because the waves will pinpoint the exact location. Waves are sent into the abdomen to create an image of the gallbladder. If stones are present, then the sound waves will bounce off the stones, revealing them to the doctor.What can they do to my body? When gallstones begin to cause problems a severe pain will begin in the upper abdomen and last from twenty minutes to several hours. Gallstone problems can also cause back pain and induce nausea and vomiting.Gallstone attacks can happen weekly, monthly or yearly until the problem is fixed. The odds are very much against an individual to only experience one attack, so after the first attack, a doctor's visit would probably be the best idea. Gallstones are...

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