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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Exercise Can Ward Off Gallstones

Study Offers More Reason to Get Fit
(MSNBC News Services, )  Exercise isn't just good for the heart your gallbladder will thank you, too. Women who exercise two to three hours a week cut their risk of excruciatingly painful gallstones by nearly one-third compared with women who don't exercise at all, according to a study at the Harvard School of Public Health.
THE USUAL treatment for painful gallstones is removal of the gallbladder, and about 500,000 Americans, two-thirds of them women, have their gallbladders taken out each year. The operations and hospitalization cost more than $5 billion a year, and the problem is the most common and costly digestive disease requiring hospitalization, according to the National Institutes of Health.
An earlier study by the same group looked only at men, even though women are twice as likely to develop gallstones. This study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed the earlier findings.
The researchers, led by Dr. Michael F. Leitzmann, looked at 60,290 women who were ages 40 to 65 in 1986 and had no history of gallstone disease. The women filled in surveys every two years about their activity. Overall, women who exercised about 30 minutes a day cut their risk of gallbladder surgery by 31 percent.
Obesity increases the risk of gallstones, as does rapid weight loss. But even after the researchers took obesity and recent weight changes into account, the exercisers were still 20 percent less likely to undergo gallbladder surgery.
The researchers theorize that exercise may reduce the cholesterol content of bile, the digestive juice stored in the gallbladder. That could reduce the number of gallstones, since 80 percent of the gallstones in this country are solid cholesterol. Also, people who exercise have more active large intestines and better levels of blood sugar and insulin, all of which may reduce the risk of gallstones.
Women who sit for 41 to 60 hours a week  that's most women with desk jobs were found to be 42 percent more likely to need their gallbladders removed than those who spend six hours or less sitting down. At more than 60 hours a week, the risk skyrockets: A woman is 132 times as likely to need gall bladder surgery as someone who spends most of her waking hours on her feet.
I think many diseases that are problems for us in the United States are lifestyle-oriented, said Dr. Joe Hines, a professor at UCLA Medical School. I think this is another study which points out the importance of Americans being more physically active.
Dr. Rudra Rai, a professor of gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins University, said the results aren't surprising, but the study was the first he has seen to sort the effects of exercise out from a vast array of other factors, such as weight, age, hormone replacement therapy, diabetes, smoking, alcohol and caffeine.
 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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