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Risk Factors for Gallstones
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop gallstones with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing gallstones. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Gender and Age
Men older than the age of 60 and women between the ages of 20 and 60 are at increased risk of developing gallstones. Pregnant women are more likely to have symptomatic gallstones.
Genetic factors play a role in gallstone disease. There is an increased risk of gallstones among first-degree relatives.
Medical conditions associated with gallstones include:
The incidence of gallstones varies widely in different ethnic groups. While the condition is less common among Asians, the incidence is high in the following groups:
A number of drugs are associated with gallstones. The most common are:
The following dietary changes increase the risk of developing gallstones:
Adler DG, Baron TH, et al. ASGE guideline: the role of ERCP in diseases of the biliary tract and the pancreas. Gastrointest Endosc. 2005;62:1-8.
Ahmed A, Cheung RC, et al. Management of gallstones and their complications. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61:1673-1678.
American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: www.acg.gi.org.
Portincasa P, Moschetta A, et al. Cholesterol gallstone disease. Lancet. 2006;368:230-239.
Shaffer EA. Gallstone disease: epidemiology of gallbladder stone disease. Best Pract Res Clin Gastronenterol. 2006;20:981-996.
Wittenburg H, Lammert F. Genetic predisposition to gallbladder stones. Semin Liver Dis. 2007;27:109-121.
Last reviewed October 2012 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
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