There is a higher risk of heart disease in those who develop gallstones, according to new research findings. The study involving a quarter-million Americans found that there was a higher risk of future heart disease in those participants who had a history of gallstones. The risk was 17 percent higher, compared to persons who did not have a history of gallstones.
Gallstones and heart disease share many common risk factors, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. But the researchers are not convinced that shared risk factors are the explanation for the link.
Cardiologist Dr. Richard Stein suggests that gallstones alone may be a risk factor for heart disease. “Eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise, keep your blood pressure down. It would be prudent to get your other heart disease risk factors under control,” – he said.
Although previous studies have shown a similar link, there weremany limitations involved. To address that, senior researcher Dr. Lu Qi and his team reviewed three large, long-running studies involving over 269,000 men and women.
Women with a history of gallstones had a 33 percent higher risk of developing heart disease. The risk in men was 11 percent. The results were then pooled with the findings from other studies with almost 900,000 participants. Once again, those with a history of gallstones had a 23 percent higher risk of developing heart disease.
Dr. Qi suggests that changes in the gut’s microbiome could be a contributing factor for heart disease after gallstones.
On the other hand, Dr. Stein suggests that some cases of gallstones trigger low-grade inflammation, which is associated with heart disease.
Dr. Qi said, “To help protect your heart health, you may also need to protect your gastrointestinal system.”
The study was published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: 4 snacks that are good for your heart