If you have been feeling a tad under the weather recently and have had a discomfort in the shoulder area, specifically the right-hand shoulder blade, it may be that you have developed gallstones.
The gallbladder acts as a storage vessel for bile produced by hepatocytes cells in the liver. Bile passes through the bile ducts to the cystic duct, where it is then pushed into the gallbladder by peristalsis (wave-like muscle contractions). Bile is then slowly concentrated by absorption of water through the walls of the gallbladder where it is stored until it is needed to digest the next meal.
Gallstones are hard masses of bile salts, pigments and cholesterol that develop within the gallbladder.
The stones form when the components of bile crystallise.
They can increase in size over many years as more crystallisation occurs.
Depending on your medical history, blood results and symptoms, it may be worth undergoing an ultrasound scan, to check whether you have any gallstones.
Some people have familial high cholesterol levels, and therefore, may be more prone to gallstones.
For most of the time, gallstones remain harmless in the gallbladder, but they can ‘escape’ with bile flow, and subsequently become stuck in the neck of the gallbladder or in one of the bile ducts.
Any blockage or obstruction can cause the gallbladder and the liver to become inflamed, and may cause some discomfort, along with what we call ‘referred’ pain. In this instance, the ‘referred’ pain can manifest itself in the R/H shoulder blade.
If you have any suspicion that you may have developed gallstones, please discuss with your GP, and they will most probably request a blood sample. An elevated alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level can correlate to a problem within the bile ducts, as these ALP enzymes are found in the bile ducts as well as other areas, including bones.
If you would like some more information, then please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or through our website: liver4life.org.uk, or on here at HealthUnlocked.