Cholelithiasis – prevention through a plant-based diet

The prevalence of cholelithiasis is about 10 percent to 15 percent of the population of the U.S., or well over 25 million people. Nearly 1 million new cases of gallstone disease are diagnosed every year and approximately one quarter of these require treatment. The burden of cholelithiasis and its complications, such as cholecystitis, pancreatitis, and cholangitis, are major public health problems. A 2006 study reported that more than 700,000 cholecystectomies were performed in the United States at a cost of $6.5 billion dollars annually.[i]

Most patients are asymptomatic, but approximately 20% become symptomatic after 10 years of follow up.[ii] A study of both symptomatic and asymptomatic sonographically-confirmed cholelithiasis cases, found that the prevalence of gallstones was 1.9 time higher in non-vegetarians than in vegetarians.[iii]

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