The gallbladder is a small sac located under the liver that stores and concentrates bile, a fluid that helps digest fats. The gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine through a tube called the bile duct. Sometimes, the gallbladder can develop problems that affect its ability to function properly. These problems are collectively known as gallbladder disease.
Types of Gallbladder Disease
There are different types of gallbladder disease, each with its own causes and symptoms. Some of the most common types are:
- Gallstones: These are hard particles that form in the gallbladder when substances in the bile (such as cholesterol, bile salts or calcium) crystallize. Gallstones can vary in size and number and can block the flow of bile through the bile ducts. This can cause inflammation and pain in the gallbladder or other parts of the digestive system.
- Cholecystitis: This is inflammation of the gallbladder wall, usually caused by gallstones. Cholecystitis can be acute (sudden and severe) or chronic (long-lasting and mild). Acute cholecystitis can lead to complications such as infection, abscess or gangrene (tissue death) of the gallbladder. Chronic cholecystitis can cause scarring and shrinking of the gallbladder over time.
- Acalculous cholecystopathy: This is a condition where the gallbladder does not empty properly due to problems with its muscle contractions or nerve signals. This can cause symptoms similar to those of cholecystitis without any evidence of stones.
- Gallbladder cancer: This is a rare type of cancer that starts in the cells lining the inside of the gallbladder. It can spread to nearby organs such as the liver or pancreas. The exact cause of gallbladder cancer is unknown, but some risk factors include age, gender (more common in women), obesity, family history and chronic inflammation or infection of the gallbladder.
Symptoms of Gallbladder Disease
The symptoms of gallbladder disease depend on the type and severity of the condition. Some people may have no symptoms at all while others may experience:
- Pain in the upper right abdomen that may radiate to the back, shoulder or chest
- Nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, indigestion or heartburn
- Fever, chills, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine or clay-colored stools
Diagnosis of Gallbladder Disease
If you have any signs or symptoms suggestive of gallbladder disease, you should consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, family history, lifestyle habits and medications. Your doctor will also perform a physical examination to check for any tenderness, swelling or masses in your abdomen.
To confirm the diagnosis of gallbladder disease, your doctor may order some tests such as:
- Blood tests: These can measure your liver function, inflammation markers, bilirubin levels and other indicators of infection or cancer.
- Urine tests: These can detect any abnormalities in your urine such as blood, bile pigments or crystals.
- Imaging tests: These can provide detailed pictures of your gallbladder and surrounding organs using sound waves (ultrasound), X-rays (CT scan) or magnetic fields (MRI). They can also show any stones, tumours, inflammation or blockages in your bile ducts.
- Endoscopic tests: These involve inserting a thin tube with a camera and light source through your mouth into your digestive tract (endoscopy) or through a small incision near your navel into your abdomen (laparoscopy). They can allow your doctor to see inside your gallbladder directly and take samples for biopsy if needed.
Role of Healthcare nt sickcare
healthcare nt sickcare is an automated online medical laboratory based in India that offers various lab tests online for patients at affordable prices. You can book lab tests online for yourself or your loved ones from healthcarentsickcare.com without any hassle.
If you suspect you have gallbladder disease, you can book online blood tests for liver function, pancreas function and bile pigment levels from healthcare nt sickcare, an automated online medical laboratory that offers affordable and accurate lab testing services.
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