Dr Offiong Etim, a surgeon at Asokoro General Hospital, Abuja, has warned that untreated gallbladder stones could be life threatening.
Etim told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja that many patients were joking with what he described as a deadly medical challenge.
He therefore advised patients with gallbladder stones to seek early medical attention.
Etim described gallstones as hard deposits in the gallbladder which could be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a pear.
He also explained gallstones as solid particles that form from bile cholesterol and billibrum in the gallbladder.
According to him, the cause of gallstones is not obvious, but attributed high cholesterol in the bile as one of the factors that predispose an individual to the disease.
The surgeon blamed being overweight, pregnancy, consumption of high fat diets, eating low-fibre diet and being diabetic as factors that pose the risk of developing gallstones.
He also faulted incomplete emptying of the gallbladder as another causative factor to the formation of gallstones.
He added that being a female and over 40 years, loosing of weight quickly, family history and intake of contraceptives or hormone therapy drugs were factors that contributes to the development of gallstones.
Etim, however, recommended low fat diets in patients with gallbladder stones, saying that it is key in reducing complications associated with the disease.
He therefore urged patients with the disease and having pains or fever to seek urgent medical help as well suggested surgical removal of the bladder of patients with complications.