The heightened risk of gallstones in diabetes patients is due to several factors, our expert explains

Why Diabetes Patients At Higher Risk Of Gallstones, Expert Explains

Why Diabetes Patients At Higher Risk Of Gallstones, Expert Explains

Gallstones, solid formations akin to pebbles, tend to develop in the gallbladder, a small organ situated beneath the liver. Often, individuals may be unaware of their presence until they cause discomfort or other complications. Understanding the causes of gallstones and strategies for prevention is crucial. Notably, individuals with diabetes face an elevated risk of developing gallstones. To delve into this connection, the editorial team at Onlymyhealth consulted with Dr. Ranjit Unnikrishnan, Vice Chairman & Consultant at Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre.

One contributing factor is the likelihood of elevated triglyceride levels among diabetes patients, which can foster gallstone formation. Moreover, individuals with diabetes may experience impaired gallbladder function and autonomic neuropathy, both of which contribute to gallstone development. Additionally, those with type 2 diabetes are more prone to being overweight or obese, both of which independently heighten the risk of gallstones.

Furthermore, shifts in dietary habits can also precipitate gallstone formation. For instance, significant weight loss following surgery or adhering to a low-calorie diet can trigger gallstone formation. Weight fluctuations, characterized by repetitive weight gain and loss, may similarly predispose individuals to gallstones. Fasting can diminish gallbladder activity and elevate cholesterol levels in bile, culminating in stone formation. If you have type 2 diabetes, consulting with your healthcare provider regarding strategies to mitigate the risk of gallstones is advisable.


The connection between diabetes and gallstones

Although the precise cause of gallstones remains elusive, a significant association exists between diabetes and the occurrence of these calculi. Individuals with diabetes are three times more likely to develop gallstones compared to those without the condition.

Various theories attempt to elucidate the connection between diabetes and gallstones. One suggests that individuals with diabetes exhibit elevated levels of cholesterol in their bile, which may precipitate stone formation. Another theory posits that diabetes disrupts the normal functioning of the gallbladder, fostering stone development.

Despite the absence of a definitive mechanism, the robust correlation between diabetes and gallstones persists. For individuals with diabetes, diligent monitoring of blood sugar levels is crucial, alongside discussions with healthcare providers regarding strategies for mitigating the risk of gallstone formation. Below are some recommendations for reducing the likelihood of developing gallstones:

1. Maintain a well-rounded and nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
2. Engage in consistent physical activity.
3. Regularly monitor your blood glucose levels and attend routine medical check-ups.
4. If overweight or obese, aim for gradual and sustainable weight loss.


It is advisable to steer clear of fatty foods and those with high sugar content. These include:

  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Cake
  • Ice cream
  • Pie
  • Donuts
  • Fruit juice
  • Soda
  • Sports drinks
  • Sweetened coffee or tea

Gallstones represent a prevalent issue, often associated with considerable pain. Individuals with diabetes face an elevated susceptibility to developing gallstones. However, one can mitigate this risk by maintaining a healthy weight and effectively managing blood sugar levels.