Can High Cholesterol Cause Gallstones?

Can High Cholesterol Cause Gallstones?

Today, over 31% of Americans, over 73 million people, have high cholesterol. According to the CDC, having high blood cholesterol almost doubles your risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. High cholesterol has no symptoms, so many people don’t know that their cholesterol is too high. Luckily, your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your levels.

Can high cholesterol cause you to have gallstones? It’s very possible. About 80% of gallstones are formed due to high levels of cholesterol, a fat synthesized by the liver and is used by your body to build healthy cells, and produce hormones and vitamins. When the levels of cholesterol are high or supersaturated, cholesterol crystals begin to form,which may lump together to form gallstones. Gallstones can interfere in the digestion of fats and cause infection and inflammation of the gallbladder.

Women are at an increased risk of gallstone formation due to the presence of estrogen, the female hormone that canincrease the levels of cholesterol in the bile.Obesity is another risk factorthat increases gallstone formation especially in women as fat tissue influences the estrogen production in the body.

High levels of cholesterol can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle changes such as:

  • Eating a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, fish, and high fiber grains and breads
  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising regularly and walking for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Losing excess weight

The standard treatment for gallstones is laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder. Alaparoscopic cholecystectomy is commonly performed using minimally invasive approach through four very small incisions. This minimally invasive approach minimizes pain and other complications and most patients leave the hospital the same day.Fortunately, having a gall bladder is not essential for a normal life and your body adjusts fairly quickly without it.