A gall stone attack is often mistaken for a heart attack.
1 of 5
It is not uncommon for people experiencing gall stone attacks to mistake it for a heart attack as the two have very similar symptoms of pain. The pain which is triggered by a gall stone attack occurs underneath the ribcage and may extend to areas near the heart close to the upper abdomen. Likewise, the pain may also radiate to the upper back and create pressure behind the breastbone and around the shoulder blades.
These attacks only occur when a gall stone is formed.
2 of 5
Gall stone formation does not lead to an attack of pain. The pain only occurs when the gall stone(s) block the bile duct and prevent the gallbladder from emptying its contents the way it should. In many cases, the gallbladder gets infected or even inflamed due to blockage and the infection may even spread to other parts of the digestive system such as the pancreas, which swells up and adds to the pain and pressure.
Which of the following triggers the formation of gall stones?
3 of 5
The main component in gall stones is cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol in the system is the most common trigger for gall stones to form, along with other substances found in the bile produced in the gallbladder. Some of these stones are as fine as grains of salt while others can be as big as a golf ball. It is the formation of large stones or the accumulation of many small ones that lead to a blockage, which triggers the symptoms of pain.
Which of the following ailments is most likely to lead to a gall bladder attack?
4 of 5
There is a close link between obesity and gall stone attacks. People who suffer from obesity are more likely to have high levels of cholesterol in their system, which leads to the increased formation of stones in the gallbladder. In many cases, these stones are very large and form in large numbers, triggering extreme attacks of pain. In such cases, surgical removal of the gallbladder is required to prevent the condition from getting worse or even occurring again in the future.
Gall stone pain attacks will only last for a couple of minutes at a time.
5 of 5
Pain caused by gall stones can last for a few minutes or even several hours and in some cases, right through the night. The pain may come and go or it may persist as a throbbing sensation, radiating out from near the upper part of the stomach. If the pain is mild, painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines are usually enough to suppress the symptoms. If it is severe or persistent, hospitalization will be required and eventually, surgical removal of the gallbladder will need to be performed.