Hepato-biliary diseases - What they are

Hepato-biliary diseases occur when the composition of the bile or its release is altered.


The gallbladder or cholecystis is a small organ involved in digestive processes, as it conveys the bile (chemical substance excreted by the liver) and releases it in the early part of the small bowel, where the bile, due to its specific formation, allows the intestinal uptake of fats and some (fat soluble) vitamins and facilitate intestinal movements.

Hepato-biliary diseases occur when the bile composition and release get altered, and they can cause major damages to the liver.

The bile is chemically composed by many substances such as water, cholesterol, pigments and salts, and it acts as a detergent able to emulsify fats and facilitate their absorption, a bit like what dish soap does to oil residues.

An excess of cholesterol or bile salts can often determine the formation of small crystals, on which, gradually, fats and exceeding salts settle, giving birth to the formation of stones that can reach the dimension of 1-2 centimetres. The outcome is a painful inflammation which hinders the hepatobiliary system's whole function.


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