Aim: To evaluate whether metabolic syndrome is associated with gallstones, independent of hepatitis C infection or chronic kidney disease (CKD), in a non-diabetic population. Materials and Methods: A total of 8,188 Chinese adult participants that underwent a self-motivated health examination were recruited into the final analysis after excluding the subjects who had a history of cholecystectomy, diabetes mellitus, or were currently using antihypertensive or lipid-lowering agents. Gallstones were defined by the presence of strong intraluminal echoes that were gravity-dependent or that attenuated ultrasound transmission. Results: A total of 447 subjects (5.5%) had gallstones, with 239 (5.1%) men and 208 (6.0%) women. After adjusting for age, gender, obesity, education level, and lifestyle factors, included current smoking, alcohol drinking, regular exercise, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and CKD, there was a positive association between metabolic syndrome and gallstones. Moreover, as compared to subjects without metabolic abnormalities, subjects with one, two, and three or more suffered from a 35, 40, and 59% higher risk of gallstones, respectively. Conclusions: Non-diabetic subjects with metabolic syndrome had a higher risk of gallstones independent of hepatitis C or CKD, and a dose-dependent effect of metabolic abnormalities also exists.
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