Friday, July 15, 2016


If you or your loved one is diagnosed with a condition referred to as cholecystitis, it simply means that you are experiencing inflammation of your gallbladder.  Having severe pain in the right upper part of your abdomen may be a warning sign of cholecystitis.  Just in case you’re wondering, your gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen that lies beneath your liver.  The gallbladder houses a digestive fluid that gets released into your small intestine when it’s signaled to do so.

Over time, formation of gallstones can occur.  In the majority of cholecystitis cases, the gallstones end up blocking the tube that exits from your gallbladder, causing build-up of the digestive fluid with nowhere to go.  The accumulation of fluid ends up resulting in inflammation, which leads to the pain this condition causes.  If left untreated, cholecystitis has the potential to lead to serious, sometime life-threatening complications…possibly rupture of the gallbladder.  This is a perfect reason to never, ever put off any symptoms you feel that are out of the ordinary.

Eating is something just about all of us enjoy doing, and unfortunately signs and symptoms of cholecystitis often occur after a meal…especially if it is a large meal and/or one that is high in fat.  Signs and symptoms to become familiar with may include the following:

ü  Severe pain in the right upper area of your abdomen.
ü  Pain that radiates from your abdominal area to your right shoulder or mid-back.
ü  Abdominal area that is tender to touch.
ü  Nausea.
ü  Vomiting.
ü  Fever.

As mentioned above, gallstones are most often the cause and greatest risk of developing cholecystitis…however there are a couple more situations that may cause this condition, including:

ü  Tumor.  If a tumor develops it may prevent the digestive fluid from draining out of your gallbladder in the correct manner.  This will result in accumulation of digestive fluid, leading to inflammation, and ultimately cholecystitis.

ü  Bile duct blockage.  There is a possibility of the bile ducts becoming kinked or scarred, which will result in causing blockages and impeding the flow of bile.  This situation may also lead to inflammation and cholecystitis.

ü  Gallstones.  This is the most common cause of cholecystitis.  Over time, hard particles referred to as gallstones may develop in your gallbladder.  These gallstones may develop due to imbalances in the substances that make up the bile (cholesterol and bile salts).  Ultimately, gallstones end up blocking the bile ducts which leads to build-up of bile and inflammation of the gallbladder.

At the first inclination of any of the signs and symptoms as mentioned above, it would be a great idea that you seek out medical attention for your situation.  This is because, if left untreated, you could experience complications from your case of cholecystitis, which may include:

ü  Gallbladder infection.  If there is accumulation of bile within your gallbladder that has nowhere to go, and if it stays in one place for too long it may become a host for an infection to develop.

ü  Tissue damage.  If left untreated, cholecystitis can cause gallbladder tissue to die off.  Dead tissue can result in tears in the gallbladder, or it could even cause it to burst entirely.

ü  Torn gallbladder.  Anytime there is a tear in your gallbladder it could be a result of an enlarged gallbladder or from an infection.

Once you approach your provider with your signs and symptoms, your provider will decide how they want to go about ruling out your diagnosis.  A variety of tests and procedures may be ordered for you to undergo and complete, including:

ü  Laboratory tests – blood tests may indicate signs of infection or signs of gallbladder abnormalities.

ü  Imaging tests – a computerized tomography (CT) scan may be used to create pictures of your gallbladder in order to allow your provider to take a look for any signs of cholecystitis that may be revealed.

ü  HIDA scan – a Hepatobiliary Iminodiacetic Acid scan can track the production and flow of bile all the way from your liver to your small intestine by use of injection of a dye into your body.  This scan will also show any blockages.

Once diagnosed, treatment most generally involves a hospital stay in order to best stabilize the inflammation of the gallbladder and possible surgery to remove the organ.  Inflammation is stabilized most often with pain medication and administration of antibiotics via intravenous (IV) access.  Once your condition is stabilized, Total Home Health professionals will be ready for you to continue your progress back to your normal lifestyle the day you step foot back into your home.  Our professional staff will educate you on the importance of promotion of your health and prevention of further episodes of cholecystitis and/or how to manage without your gallbladder. 

As always, with your wishes directing our treatment plans and goals, we will work alongside you in order to best manage your condition.  At Total Home Health you will never be alone in your health journey.  To accommodate for your cholecystitis we will implement our program and work together closely with you to help you maintain a healthy weight, while encouraging you to consume a healthier diet.  Don’t wait any longer to get on the right track, enroll with Total Home Health today!

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