Edward, a 74-year-old man, began having pains in his abdomen. They always went away, but they made him very uncomfortable. Sometimes he also felt nauseous and he even vomited a few times. His daughter, Ellen, knew something was terribly wrong, so she insisted that Edward see a doctor. Upon examination, the doctor determined that Edward’s problems were stemming from his gallbladder and he needed surgery to have it removed.
It turns out Edward’s gallbladder problems were pretty common. Each year, about 700,000 people have gallbladder surgery in the United States. Yet, you may be unaware of the symptoms that signal a gallbladder problem. Recognizing the symptoms could allow you to get your aging relative the care they need more quickly.
What is the Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a small organ, about four inches long, that lies in the upper right part of the abdomen, under the liver. It is responsible for storing bile used to help with digesting fat. It also helps the body to absorb some vitamins and other nutrients.
Normally, the process of using bile to digest food is painless, but sometimes problems develop in the gallbladder that interfere. Some possible gallbladder problems include:
- Inflammation of the gallbladder.
- Inflammation of the pancreas caused by gallstones.
Sometimes, when these problems occur, it is necessary to remove the gallbladder. Gallbladder removal surgery is called a cholecystectomy. The surgery is considered low-risk and most people go home on the same day.
What are the Signs of a Gallbladder Problem?
Though there are different reasons the gallbladder needs to be removed, gallbladder problems share similar symptoms. Signs of a gallbladder problem include:
- Pain: Pain is the most common symptoms associated with a gallbladder problem. The pain is usually located in the mid or upper right part of the abdomen. It can range from a mild pain that happens intermittently to more severe pain that can even radiate into the back and chest.
- Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting occur with all kinds of gallbladder problems. Chronic gallbladder problems may also cause acid reflux and gas.
- Diarrhea: Chronic diarrhea that lasts for three or more months may be a sign of a gallbladder problem. Unusually colored stools and dark urine may also be a sign.
- Jaundice: A yellowish tint to the skin could signal a blocked bile duct or gallstones.
Although gallbladder surgery is common and a one-day procedure, the recovery at home may take a few days. A senior care provider can assist with the at-home recovery period. Senior care providers can allow older adults to rest while they handle the usual household tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, and taking the dog outside. Senior care providers can also remind the person to take medications.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Crawfordville, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida