The pancreas is an upper abdominal digestive organ (belly). It connects to the opening of the small intestine. The pancreatic tube drains digestive enzymes (chemicals) into the small intestine. It secretes digestive juices into the small intestine through a pancreatic duct tube. The pancreas also releases hormones like insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation (swelling) of the pancreas. There are several reasons for this condition, with gallstones and excessive alcohol consumption being the most prominent ones. The condition may flare up suddenly or even exist for a long period of time. When inflamed, the digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas may cause tissue damage. The production of inflammatory cells and chemicals from an inflamed pancreas can injure your lungs, kidneys, and heart.
Types of Pancreatitis
There are two types of Pancreatitis:
- Acute Pancreatitis
- Chronic Pancreatitis
Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Most people with acute or chronic pancreatitis have discomfort in the centre-left of the upper abdomen as their major symptom. Its symptoms are as follows:
Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms
- Pain starts slowly or suddenly in the upper abdominal area
- Your pain may spread to the back
- Mild or severe pain
- Pain that may last for several days
- Swollen or tender abdomen
- Fast heart rate
Chronic Pancreatitis Symptoms
- Pain in the upper abdomen or no pain at all
- Pain that may spread to the back
- Pain that may worsen after eating
- Weight loss
People with chronic pancreatitis may also develop steatorrhea, which is characterised by fatty faeces and a bad odour.
When To See a Doctor?
One should consult the doctor if they are experiencing:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Very fast heartbeat
- Difficulty in sitting properly due to stomach pain
Get the best treatment for Pancreatitis from our General Physicians and doctors at Medicover Hospitals.
Earlier, excessive drinking was assumed to cause pancreatitis. However, as per recent studies, pancreatitis affects only a small percentage of alcoholics. The following are some of the most prevalent causes of pancreatitis:
- Autoimmune conditions
- High triglycerides
- Pancreatic cancer
- Abdominal surgery
- Side effects of certain medications
- Cystic fibrosis
- Injury to the abdomen
Chronic pancreatitis can be caused by high blood calcium or triglycerides (a form of fat)
Risk Factors of Pancreatitis
The risk of pancreatitis is increased by many factors. Few such factors are:
- High alcohol consumption (more than two drinks per day)
A combination of risk factors, like smoking and having a family history of pancreatitis, increases the chances of getting pancreatitis.
The risk of acute pancreatitis progressing to chronic pancreatitis is further increased by smoking or consuming alcohol.
Pancreatitis might lead to complications in some patients. These consequences are rare in individuals with acute pancreatitis; however, they are more prevalent in those with chronic pancreatitis. Few such complications are:
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Pancreatic Infections
When tissue and other residues build on the pancreas, pseudocysts can develop. Usually, these go away on their own. However, if they burst, infection and bleeding can occur, which can be dangerous if not managed properly.
Prevention of Pancreatitis
One can protect their pancreas and lower the chance of pancreatitis and other significant health problems by:
Limiting Alcohol Consumption:
One may help protect their pancreas from the harmful effects of alcohol and reduce the risk of pancreatitis by reducing their alcohol consumption.
Eating a Heart-Healthy Diet:
Gallstones are a prominent cause of acute pancreatitis, so consuming a heart-healthy diet that contains whole grains and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables will lower your risk of gallstones. Avoid fatty or fried meals and full-fat dairy products to help prevent pancreatitis.
Exercising Regularly and Lose Excess Weight:
Individuals who are overweight are more prone to developing gallstones. This puts them at risk for acute pancreatitis.
Skipping crash diets:
Losing weight should be done gradually. When people go on a crash diet to lose weight quickly, the liver responds by increasing cholesterol synthesis, increasing the chance of gallstones.
According to a recent research, people who smoke are 1.5 times more likely to develop pancreatitis.
The following tests and methods are used to diagnose pancreatitis:
- Blood tests to check for pancreatic enzymes, white blood cells, renal function, and liver enzymes.
- Ultrasound of the abdomen to check for gallstones and pancreatic inflammation.
- A CT scan is used to search for gallstones and determine the amount of pancreatic inflammation.
- The patient’s gallbladder, pancreas, and ducts are scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Endoscopic ultrasonography detects inflammation and obstructions in the pancreatic and bile ducts.
- Stool tests are used in chronic pancreatitis to detect fat levels that may indicate that the digestive system isn't properly absorbing nutrients.
Depending on the condition, the doctor may suggest further testing
Depending on the factors causing pancreatitis, treatment options may include prescription medicine or enzymes. More severe cases of pancreatitis may require gallbladder surgery, pancreatic surgery, or bile duct blockage removal treatments. Pancreatitis can be treated in various ways, depending on whether it's acute or chronic.
With a healthy amount of rest and medication, mild acute pancreatitis normally goes away in a few days. If your pancreatitis is more severe, you may need surgery.
To remove the gallbladder, your doctor may propose cholecystectomy surgery for gallstones that induce pancreatitis. Surgery performed within a few days of being admitted to the hospital decreases the risk of complications. If one has severe pancreatitis, the doctor may recommend postponing surgery till complications have been resolved.
If a person has an abscess, an infected pseudocyst, or a big pseudocyst may cause discomfort or bleeding, the doctor or physician will remove fluid from the abdomen. He/she may also remove damaged tissue in the pancreas.
Endoscopic Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP):
Both acute and chronic pancreatitis is treated with ERCP. ERCP is a procedure that combines upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with x-rays to treat bile or pancreatic duct constriction or obstruction. The gastroenterologist may remove gallstones obstructing the bile or pancreatic ducts via ERCP.
Chronic pancreatitis treatment may help reduce pain, enhance pancreatic function, and control complications. The following may be prescribed or provided by the doctor:
Medicines and vitamins:
If a patient has malabsorption, the doctor may prescribe enzyme pills or vitamins A, D, E, and K to aid digestion. If required, the doctor may also administer vitamin B-12 shots.
Diabetes can be caused by chronic pancreatitis. If a patient is diagnosed with diabetes, the doctor will develop a diet plan, medication, blood glucose monitoring, and a frequent checkup regimen.
Surgery to alleviate pressure or blockage in your pancreatic duct, or to remove a damaged or infected section of the pancreas, may be recommended by the doctor. The surgery is performed at a hospital, and you may be required to stay for a few days.
Lifestyle Changes and Self Care
- Stop using tobacco products like cigarettes.
- Each day, eat three to four small meals.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per 4 kg of body weight every day to stay hydrated.
- To relieve tension and pain, meditate and practise relaxation techniques.
- Lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, fruits, veggies, and modest quantities of dairy give energy to the body.
- Individuals suffering from chronic pancreatitis, must practise yoga twice a week to improve their general quality of life.
- A Mediterranean diet is good for blood sugar control and has been linked to a decreased incidence of pancreatic cancer.
Dos and Don’ts
When the pancreas gets inflamed, it causes pancreatitis, which is dangerous. The pancreas produces insulin and digestive enzymes. The pancreas can be injured and irritated by the same enzymes that aid digestion. This discomfort might last for a short or long period of time. Following the below-mentioned dos and don'ts can help you avoid the disease's negative repercussions.
|Eat a healthy and maintain a balanced diet||Eat fried and fatty foods|
|Exercise daily to maintain a healthy body weight||Consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes|
|Take the medicines as prescribed by the doctor||Discontinue medicines without completing the dosage|
|Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits||Eliminate saturated fats|
|Meditate and practise yoga to keep your mind healthy and positive||Stay sedentary with no physical activity|
Precautions and self-care will help you fight this condition positively and improve your quality of life.
Pancreatitis Care at Medicover Hospitals
At Medicover, we have the best team of gastroenterologists and surgeons who work together to provide Pancreatitis disease treatment with utmost precision. Our highly skilled team utilises the latest medical equipment, diagnostic procedures and technologies to treat various Pancreatitis conditions and ailments. For treating Pancreatitis, we adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to provide comprehensive care to the patients and attend to all their medical needs for faster and sustained recovery..