Purpose: Prospective studies of gallbladder disease have investigated a limited number of risk factors and have been conducted predominantly in women. Determinants of hospitalized gallbladder disease were examined in a large, population-based cohort of men and women.
Methods: Subjects, aged 45-64 years, were participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study who reported no history of gallbladder disease at baseline (n = 12,773). Incident cases of gallbladder disease were identified through surveillance of hospital discharges between the baseline visit (1987-1989) and 1996.
Results: The crude incidence rate of hospitalized gallbladder disease was 3.8 per 1000 person-years. In women, increasing risk was observed for increasing levels of body-mass index and waist-to-hip ratio, whereas in men, increased risk was observed only in the morbidly obese (BMI >or= 35). Fasting serum insulin, low HDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and hormone replacement therapy were all positively associated with gallbladder disease risk. The relative risks associated with having one, two, or three or more components of the "multiple metabolic syndrome" in men were 1.45 (95% CI = 0.9-2.3), 2.17 (1.3-3.6), and 2.34 (1.3-4.3), respectively.
Conclusions: In men, hyperinsulinemia and dyslipidemia may have some role in the etiology of gallbladder disease beyond their association with obesity, whereas in women, increased body size, central adiposity, and hormone replacement therapy may be more important determinants of gallbladder disease.