Q: My mother just had gallbladder surgery. What does she need to know about self-care going forward?
A: In medical school, students use a crude alliteration to remember the risk factors for gall bladder problems: Fat, female, fecund, and 40.
This means that women who are over the age of 40, overweight, and have had one or more children are at a much higher risk of gall stones and inflammation (cholecystitis)
There are very few dietary restrictions one needs to follow after the surgery, though it may be prudent to eat a diet lower in fats (and we should all be doing that anyway). The most important thing is to optimize her nutritional status (lots of lean protein and vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables) so that the healing process has all of the good energy it needs.
Most likely she had a laparoscopic procedure and the incisions very small, so there should really be not physical restrictions either.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
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