Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder. Inflammation usually forms when a gallstone blocks the cystic duct that transports bile. Cholecystitis is the most common problem resulting from gallbladder stones (90% of the cases).
Cholecystitis affects women more often than men and is more likely to occur after age 40. People who have a history of gallstones are at increased risk for cholecystitis. Cholecystitis has an increased prevalence among people of Scandinavian descent, Pima Indians, and Hispanic populations. It affected 20 million people with a mortality record of 1,092 deaths in 2004. Hospitalizations total up 622,000 in the same year and over 700,000 have undergone cholecystectomies. (http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/statistics.htm#all)
Cholecystits is usually classified as either acute or chronic. Acute cholecystitis is a sudden pain in the hypochondriac region resulting in severe and steady pain. Chronic cholecystitis is gallbladder inflammation that has lasted a long time. The attacks are repeated and the gallbladder eventually becomes damaged. Gallstones are pebble-like, hardening deposits of bile that are formed inside of the gallbladder. Bile is made in the liver and it is a digestive fluid which contains water, cholesterol, fats, bile salts, or bilirubin. Bile aids in digesting fats and is stored in the gallbladder until the body needs it. When in use the gallbladder contracts and pushes the bile through the common bile duct, which carries it to the small intestines. Bile salts break up fat, and bilirubin gives bile and stool a yellowish-brown color. If the liquid bile contains too much cholesterol, bile salts, or bilirubin, it can harden into gallstones. Two types of gallstones are cholesterol stones, which account for 8o percent of gallstones cases, and pigment stones. Cholesterol stones are yellow-green in color and are mainly composed of undissolved cholesterol. Pigment stones are a dark brown...
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