Pancreatitis – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What Is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a disease that caused inflammation of the pancreas.

The pancreas is a large gland with both exocrines and endocrine functions. It is located behind your stomach and at the side of your small intestine. Your pancreas releases two main stuff that are:

  • strong digestive enzymes, which are released into the small intestine to help you digest food.
  • insulin and glucagon released into your blood circulation. These hormones assist in controlling your blood sugger level of the body.

Your pancreas may be damaged when digestive enzymes have activated prior to your pancreas releasing them.

Types of Pancreatitis

Both types of pancreatitis have acute and chronic conditions.

  • Acute pancreatitis is a fast-acting, short-lived inflammation. Minor discomfort or serious life-threatening complications may be involved. Most individuals with acute pancreatitis recover fully after receiving appropriate treatment. In serious cases, acute pancreatitis can result in bleeding, serious tissue damage, infection and cysts. Serious pancreatitis can also affect other vital organs, including the heart, lungs and kidneys.
  • Chronic pancreatitis is a long-term inflammatory disease. It generally occurs after a period of acute pancreatitis. Another main reason is a lot of alcohol consumption over a long period of time. Damage to your pancreas caused by high alcohol consumption may not cause symptoms for many years, but you may suddenly experience serious symptoms of pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis Symptoms

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis

  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling and tenderness on the abdomen.
  • Pain in the upper part of your abdomen, which glows into your back. Eating can worsen the situation, especially foods rich in fat.

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis has symptoms similar to acute pancreatitis. However, you can also feel:

  • Continuous pain in the upper part of the abdomen that go into the back. Such pain can be disabling.
  • Diarrhea and weight loss due to the fact that your pancreas does not produce enough enzymes to break down food.
  • Upset stomach and make you vomit.

Causes of pancreatitis and Risk Factors

Causes of acute pancreatitis are :

  • Surgery
  • Trauma
  • Gallstones
  • Medications
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Lots of alcohol intake
  • Infections
  • Metabolic disorders

In approximately 15% of people with acute pancreatitis whose cause is not known.

Chronic pancreatitis causes include:

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Familial history of pancreatic disorders.
  • Gallstones
  • High level of triglycerides
  • Use of alcohol for a long time.
  • Medications

In approximately 20% to 30% of cases, the cause of chronic pancreatitis is not known. Chronic pancreatitis occurs frequently in men aged 30 to 40 years.

Pancreatitis Complications

There may be serious complications of pancreatitis such as:

  • Diabetes if the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin are damaged.
  • You have a pancreas infection.
  • Kidney failure
  • Malnutrition, if your body cannot obtain the necessary nutrients from the food you eat because of the lack of digestive enzymes.
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic necrosis, when the tissues die because your pancreas does not receive sufficient blood.
  • Respiratory complications due to chemical changes in your body that affect your lungs.
  • Pseudocysts, when the fluid enters your pancreas’s pockets. They may rupture and become infected.

Pancreatitis Diagnosis

Your doctor tests your blood for acute pancreatitis to measure two digestive enzymes: amylase and lipase. Higher levels of both enzymes indicate that you are likely to have acute pancreatitis.

Other tests consist of the following:

  • Pancreatic function test to find out if your pancreas is producing sufficient quantities of digestive enzymes.
  • Ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI, making images of your pancreatic.
  • ERCP, where your physician uses a long tube with a camera at the end to see your pancreatic canal and bile ducts.
  • Biopsy, where your physician uses a needle to remove a small piece of tissue to examine your pancreas.

In some cases, your physician may perform a blood and poop analysis to ensure your diagnosis. They can also carry out a glucose tolerance test to measure the damage done to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Pancreatitis Treatment

Acute pancreatitis Treatment

You may need to remain at the hospital, when your treatment can consist of:

  • Antibiotics for an infected pancreas.
  • Intravenous fluids (IV), injected via needle.
  • A low-fat, fasting diet. You may have to stop eating food to get your pancreas recovery. In this case, you will obtain nutrition by a feeding tube.
  • Drugs for pain relief.

For more serious cases, your treatment could include:

  • ERCP to eliminate gallstones if they induce blockages of your bile or pancreatic ducts.
  • Gall bladder surgery if gallstones result in pancreatitis.
  • Pancreatic surgery to cleanse dead or damaged liquid or tissue.

Chronic pancreatitis Treatment

If you are living with chronic pancreatitis, you may need more treatments, including:

  • Insulin for dealing with diabetes.
  • Pain medications
  • Pancreatic enzymes to assist your body to obtain the necessary nutrients from your food.
  • Surgery or procedures for pain relief, drainage assistance, or removal of obstructions.

Pancreatitis Prevention

Because numerous cases of pancreatitis are caused by alcohol abuse, prevention is often aimed at limiting the amount you drink or not. If you have concerns about your alcohol consumption, talk to your doctor or health care professional about an alcohol treatment centre. Another support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous could help.

Stop smoking and follow the advice of your physician and dietitian on your diet, And take your medication so you’ll have fewer mild pancreatic attacks.

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