Pancreatitis is pathogenic swelling and inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreas is a large gland present behind the stomach and next to small intestine.
- It release digestive enzyme into the small intestine, which help in the digestion of the food
- It also releases insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream which helps to control the glucose level in our blood.
- Mostly damage to the pancreas occurs when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are released to the small intestine and attack the pancreas.
Symptoms of pancreatitis:
Certain symptoms may include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain that radiates to the back and feels worse after eating
- Rapid pulse
- Losing of weight
- Steatorrhea, fatty stool with foul smell (In case of chronic pancreatitis)
Types of pancreatitis:
There are two types of pancreatitis:
- Acute pancreatitis: It is sudden inflammation that last from some hours to several days. Acute pancreatitis may cause a mild discomfort to a life threatening issue. It can be cured completely if the patient is given a right treatment at correct time. Gallstones are the major cause of acute pancreatitis, gall stones are small, solid masses formed in the bile duct.
- Chronic pancreatitis- It is long lasting inflammation of the pancreas. Due to repetitive damage of the pancreas scar tissue may also tend to develop. Excessive scar tissue may stop the work of the pancreas, and there may be many acquired and genetic causes for this pancreatitis.
Causes of pancreatitis:
Certain causes of pancreatitis may include:
- Drinking high level of alcohol
- Gall stones
- Abdominal surgery
- Certain medication
- Cigarette smoking
- Family history of pancreatitis
- Cystic fibrosis
- High calcium level of the blood (hypercalcemia), which may be caused by overactive parathyroid gland
- Injury to the abdomen
- Pancreatic cancer
- High triglyceride level in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia)
Treatments of pancreatitis:
Diet and relief to the pancreas may be the most effective treatment.
- Diet- A low fat, healthy diet plays a major role in recovering from pancreatitis. And it is mostly important in case of chronic pancreatitis
- Pain medication- As pancreatitis can cause severe pain, so pain medication is given to relief pain and other symptoms
- Relief to pancreas- Fasting in hospital, or depending on intravenous fluid to keep the body hydrated may be effective methods to treat in case of acute pancreatitis
- Surgery-Certain gallbladder surgery if gallstone is the issue, pancreas surgery to drain fluid from the pancreas , surgery to open and widen bile duct if pancreatitis is caused by narrowed and blocked bile duct may to options to release pancreatitis in certain cases
- Enzyme supplements- Certain pancreatic enzyme supplements can be given to improve digestion.
Diagnosis of pancreatitis:
In case of acute pancreatitis level of digestive enzymes in the blood is measured, if the level is more, it confirms acute pancreatitis.
In case of chronic pancreatitis certain blood, urine and stool test is done to diagnose the condition.
Certain other tests may include:
- Pancreatic function test- Which look for the working nature of the digestive enzymes
- Glucose tolerance test-It measures the damage of the cell in pancreas that makes insulin
- Imaging techniques such as ultrasound, MRI and CT scan- It looks at the images of pamceras for further information
- ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)- To look at the pancreatic and bile ducts using X-rays
- Biopsy-Removing a small sample of the pancreas for further study.