Gallstones are common with prevalences as high as 60% to 70% in American Indians and 10% to 15% in white adults of developed countries. Ethnic differences abound with a reduced frequency in black Americans and those from East Asia, while being rare in sub-Saharan Africa. Certain risk factors for gallstones are immutable: female gender, increasing age, and ethnicity/family (genetic traits). Others are modifiable: obesity, the metabolic syndrome, rapid weight loss, certain diseases (cirrhosis and Crohn disease), gallbladder stasis (from spinal cord injury or drugs, such as somatostatin), and lifestyle.
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