Description of Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It happens when digestive enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself. Either form is serious and can lead to complications.
Pancreas, the large gland behind the stomach and close to the first part of the small intestine, secretes digestive juices through a tube called the pancreatic duct. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic.
1. Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly and usually goes away in a few days with treatment. It is often caused by gallstones.
2. Chronic pancreatitis does not heal or improve. It gets worse over time and leads to permanent damage.
Causes and Risk Factors
Most common causes are:
1. Heavy alcohol use
2. Cystic fibrosis
3. Other inherited disorders
4. High levels of calcium or fats in the blood
5. Some medicines
6. Autoimmune conditions
Signs and Symptoms
Common symptoms are:
1. Severe pain in the upper abdomen
4. Weight loss
5. Oily stools
1. Intravenous (IV) fluids
3. Medicines to relieve pain
4. Nutritional support
After that, you may need to start taking enzymes and eat a special diet. It is also important to not smoke or drink alcohol.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Frequently Asked Questions about Pancreatitis
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