Pancreatitis is the inflammation in the pancreas. It occurs when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are released into the small intestine and begin attacking the pancreas.
Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic.
Acute pancreatitis appear suddenly and lasts for short time. It can cause mild discomfort to a severe, life-threatening illness.
Chronic pancreatitis occur over many years and is long-lasting inflammation of the pancreas. In most of the cases, it happens after an acute attack of the pancreatitis.
What Causes Pancreatitis?
Normally during the digestive process, inactivated pancreatic enzymes travel to the small intestine and get activated to help with digestion. But in pancreatitis, the digestive enzymes become activated while being in the pancreas and cause damage to the organ leading to inflammation and other signs of pancreatitis.
There are a number of causes that can lead to acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis, including:
Excessive alcoholism
Cigarette smoking
Abdominal surgery
Abdominal injury
Certain medications
Cystic fibrosis
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
High calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia), due to an overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism)
High triglyceride levels in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia)
What Are the Symptoms of Pancreatitis?
Depending upon the type of pancreatitis, the signs and symptoms may vary.
Signs & Symptoms of Acute Pancreatitis:
Pain in upper abdomen that radiates to back
Pain gets worse after meals
Pain lasts for a short time
Swelling & tenderness of abdomen
Signs & Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis:
Upper abdominal pain
Excessive weight loss
Oily, smelly stools (steatorrhea)
Tests and Diagnosis :
Physician performs thorough physical examination after taking complete medical history of the patient. Certain tests and procedures are required to confirm the diagnosis of pancreatitis including:
Blood tests
Stool tests
Urine tests
Computerized tomography (CT) scan
Abdominal ultrasound
Endoscopic ultrasound
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Pancreatic function test
Glucose tolerance test
Treatment of Pancreatitis??
Mild cases of pancreatitis may go away on its own without any treatment, but severe cases can cause life-threatening complications and need immediate medical attention.Most of the cases require hospitalization to control inflammation of pancreas. On hospitalization, following treatment is done to stabilize the pancreas:
IV fluids
Pain medications and in some severe cases surgery is performedto remove the dead or damaged tissue.
Once the condition becomes stable, then the root cause of pancreatitis is treated with any of the following treatment options:
Enzymes to improve digestion
Insulin injections
Dietary changes
Pain Management
Treatment for alcohol dependence
In cases where pancreatitis is caused by gallstones, cholecystectomy is performed to remove gall bladder and gall stones.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is performed to remove bile duct obstructions.
Pancreas surgery is performed to drain fluid from pancreas or to remove diseased tissue.
Pancreatitis treatment is complex and requires prolonged therapy. Sometimes it requires immediate medical attention and the patient is treated in emergency. But in other cases, regular medication and follow up is required for effective healing

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