What is pancreas?
The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and next to the small intestine. The pancreas does two main things:
- It releases powerful digestive enzymes into the small intestine to aid the digestion of food.
- The pancreas also produces hormones which are involved in the processing of glucose in the body.
What is pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The Signs and Symptoms of pancreatitis include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, and vomiting.There are two main types of pancreatitis.
- Acute pancreatitis
- Chronic pancreatitis
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation that lasts for a short time. It may range from mild discomfort to a severe, life-threatening illness. Most people with acute pancreatitis recover completely after getting the right treatment.Symptoms of acute pancreatitis are Upper abdominal pain that radiates into the back (it may be aggravated by eating, especially foods high in fat), Swollen and tender abdomen, Nausea and Vomiting, Fever, Increased heart rate.
Chronic pancreatitis is long-lasting inflammation of the pancreas. It most often happens after an episode of acute pancreatitis. Heavy alcohol drinking is another big cause. In chronic pancreatitis weight loss, fatty stool, and diarrhea may occur.Complications may include infection, bleeding, diabetes mellitus, or problems with other organs.
Some of the most common causes of pancreatitis include:
80% cases of pancreatitis are caused by alcohol or gallstones. Gallstones are the single most common cause of acute pancreatitis. Alcohol is the single most common cause of chronic pancreatitis.
- Intake of certain medications
- Abdominal surgery
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Cystic fibrosis
- Abdominal injury
- Cancer of the pancreas
- High amounts of calcium in the bloodstream
- High amounts of parathyroid hormone in the blood
- High triglyceride levels
- Family history of pancreatitis
Pancreatitis can result in some serious complications such as:
- It can trigger certain chemical changes in the body and this could affect the lungs function. This can lead to reduced levels of oxygen in the blood.
- It results in inflammation that damages the cells which produce insulin. This can lead to diabetes.
- Repeated bouts of pancreatitis can make the pancreas prone to infections. These infections can be severe and may require surgical treatment to extract the infected tissue.
- Kidney failure may occur due to acute pancreatitis.
- Pancreatitis can result in the production of reduced levels of enzymes. Low levels of enzymes can lead to poor nutrition, weight loss, and diarrhea.
- Chronic pancreatitis may increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
- Recurring pancreatitis can lead to the formation of cysts. These cysts may lead to internal bleeding if they rupture.
It is important to identify the symptoms at an early stage and seek medical attention to avoid the worsening the condition.See a doctor urgently if you develop any symptoms described above.You can control pancreatitis with a healthy lifestyle and medical treatment when necessary.
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