Health & Wellness

Gallstones vs. Kidney Stones

Stone formations within the body organs like the gallbladder and the kidney is a common condition that arises in many people across the globe. Gallstones and kidney stones may develop over time and are painful, but with the right treatment action, the conditions can be sorted out in time. 

First, let’s get to know what the functions of the two organs are. The main purpose of the kidney is to perform blood filtration, which then flushes out the toxins from the body through urine. The gallbladder job is to act as a storehouse for bile which is produced in the liver – bile is important in the emulsification process of the fats being digested in the body. 

If the salts get accumulated in the kidney or the fats get accumulated in the gallbladder, they can produce stones there. A kidney stone comprises a solid mass that is made of tiny crystals from uric acid, oxalate, and calcium minerals. 

Gallstones could be hard in density and are in the form of a pebble. These are often pigmented in usual cases and are cholesterol deposits that form in the insides of the gallbladder. These are as little as a sand grain or as large as a golf ball. There might be one or a multitude of stones present in the gallbladder or the kidney at the same time in a patient. 

People at Risk for Gallstones 

Women in their middle ages are often at the risk of developing the condition of gallstones. Moreover, those having diabetes, obesity, or those who are already at the risk of developing liver failure, such as seen in the fatty liver, are prone to developing stones in their gallbladder. Most often, people who take foods that are high in LDL cholesterol are at an increased risk of developing this disease. 

People at Risk for Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are quite common in men in their middle ages. Major kidney stone targets are people who eat too much animal protein in their diet or take a high mineral plant diet. Plants with high mineral content can include leafy green vegetables and beans. If taken in a high quantity, these may cause the formation of crystals in the urinary tract, especially in the kidney. Another factor is dehydration. When there is a minimum intake of water, there is more residue of minerals in the body. 

Symptoms of Gallstones

Gallstones usually come with minimum to no symptoms. Most people experience pain radiating in the upper right region of the abdomen, which gets developed over the course of a decade. This is the time for the gallstones to fully develop. 

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Some kidney stones are benign and go unnoticed as they flush out from the body through urine. On the other side, some kidney stones are so dense and large that they result in pain. There is a sharp pain appearing as cramps in the back and the side of the affected kidney. There might also be back pain, vomiting, and nausea. 

Prognosis and Treatment for Gallstones 

There might never be any symptoms appearing for gallstones, but patients having the surgery would be at a better end of the line. Unlike in the line of treatment for kidney stones, gallstone removal is the most usual way to get total riddance of the organ. Although you can preserve the gallbladder and merely take the stones out, there are high chances for the stones to form again. On the bright side, it is possible to live without a gallbladder. 

Prognosis and Treatment of Kidney Stones

You cannot simply remove the kidney stones by getting rid of the stones altogether. There is a different approach adopted here, which includes putting a beam through the body to the stones to break them down. This is known as shock wave lithotripsy, and it requires no invasion of the kidney or the urinary tract whatsoever. The patient is also advised to drink more water to keep themselves hydrated as much as possible so small stones can be flushed out from the body themselves. 

Preventing Gallstones 

Diet has an important role to play when it comes to preventing your gallstones. This is because gallstones are actually formed from fats forming conjugates with salts through a process called saponification. In that manner, you need to take care of the quality of the fats you are consuming in your diet. Trans fat is not the best choice in that regard. Fried foods and unhealthy animal fats should be avoided. 

Similarly, try to consume a healthy amount of fiber in your diet as it will help you to eliminate the bad cholesterol from your body. Take balanced meals and perform exercises regularly. Don’t skip meals, as doing so will only increase your appetite for unhealthy carbs and fats in your body, which will elevate your lipid profile through triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. 

Preventing Kidney Stones 

The preventative approach to kidney stones is pretty much the same as that of gall stones when it comes to taking a balanced diet and consuming meals on time with no skipping. One important factor one needs to consider in this regard is to take into consideration the amount of water they are drinking. 

It is recommended you also consider your protein intake. Excess of protein, either an animal source or a plant source, is not good for your health. Try to keep a check on your portion sizes. 

You can also get your serum levels tested for different minerals. For example, elevated serum calcium levels point that you should avoid consuming too much calcium foods in your diet. 

Take Home Message

These were some of the basics everyone needs to know about the two conditions. One must acknowledge the fact that no matter how painful the conditions, these can be treated well, but the best cure is prevention first hand. We hope this article gave you an insight into the difference between gallstones and kidney stones, their treatment, and their prevention. 

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