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5% Spitians have gall bladder stones: Study

Tribune News Service

Subhash Rajta

Shimla, June 23

The prevalence of gall bladder stones is unusually high in the Spiti valley. “From among 2,000 diagnosed individuals, around 5 per cent were found to have gall bladder stones. The percentage was much higher in the suspect group,” said PC Negi, Head, cardiology department, IGMC.

These findings came to the fore during a multi-specialty medical camp held in Kinnaur and Spiti by a joint medical team from the IGMC and other hospitals. Incidentally, the prevalence of gall bladder stones was found to be much lower in Kinnaur.

“The high prevalence in the Spiti valley could be because of the altitude or dietary habits. High cholesterol can also cause gall bladder stones but no abnormality was found in cholesterol. The findings warrant a proper research to find out the reasons for abnormally high gall bladder stones,” said Dr Negi. “Besides, hepatitis and acid peptic ulcer diseases also seem common. Lifestyle diseases like hypertension and diabetes have also made their way to this remote region,” added Dr Negi.

Another condition that a large number of Spiti residents suffer from is chronic mountain sickness. “Around 10 years back, the prevalence of chronic high mountain sickness in Spiti was found to be 29 per cent. We need to conduct another survey to find out the current status of the condition,” Dr Negi said. Caused by low oxygen, the symptoms of the condition include weakening memory, headache, etc.

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