Pancreatitis is serious disease in which there is a swelling in pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum. The function of pancreas is to secrete digestive enzymes into the small intestine through a tube called the pancreatic duct. These enzymes help digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body use the glucose it takes from food for energy. Pancreatic disease occurs when the digestive enzymes are activated and begin attacking the pancreas. In very severe cases, pancreatitis can result in bleeding into the gland itself; serious tissue damage, infection and fluid collections may occur. Severe pancreatitis can result in damage to other very important organs such as the heart, lung and kidneys. In approximately 70% of the cases, pancreatitis occurs when person consumes excessive, alcohol for longer period of time. It may happen due to metabolic disorders. It's rare that patients have chronic pancreatitis that tends to run in families (hereditary pancreatitis). Alcohol damages the pancreas but patient may not show symptoms for many years. It occurs suddenly and patient show severe pancreatitis symptoms, including severe pain and loss of pancreatic function, resulting in digestion and blood sugar abnormalities.
There are two types of pancreatitis. The first category is acute pancreatitis which occurs suddenly and may result in critical complications. According medical data, the majority of patients get well completely from this type of pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis is usually the result of longstanding harm to the pancreas from alcohol intake. In chronic pancreatitis, patient complains severe pain and there is loss of pancreatic function.
Acute pancreatitis is more common in men than women. Chronic pancreatitis may be due to metabolic, hereditary, or simply the causes are unidentified. Pregnancy can also cause ancreatitis, but in some cases the development of pancreatitis is most likely just a reflection of the hyper triglyceridemia which often occurs in pregnant women. Pancreas divisum, a common congenital deformity of the pancreas may cause some cases of frequent pancreatitis. Gallstones in the gallbladder which is another organ in the abdomen may be a cause of pancreatitis because a gallstone can block the pancreatic duct, trapping digestive juices inside the pancreas. Pancreatitis due to gallstones occurs most often in women who are above 50 years. Other causes are usually due to medications and very rarely, infections, trauma or surgery of the abdomen. Types of trauma can cause acute pancreatitis in rare cases. Trauma can be postoperative trauma (due to surgery), hyperlipidemia (or excessive amounts of fat and fatty substances in the blood), hypercalcemia (or an abnormally large amount of calcium in the blood), Ductal obstruction, Infectious Agents. Other causes, include:tTropical pancreatitis, hereditary pancreatitis, hyperparathyroidism, cystic Fibrosis, pancreas Divisum.
Pancreatitis patient complains pain in the upper abdomen that may last for a few days. The pain may be severe and may become constant just in the abdomen or it may reach to the back and other areas. It may be sudden and severe or start as a mild pain that gets worse when food is eaten. Acute pancreatitis may be a symptom of gallstone disease. The relation between gallstones and acute pancreatitis is the anatomical union of the ducts that drain the gallbladder and pancreas, called the ampulla or major papilla of the duodenum. In mild cases, a person is having problem in eating for 3 or 4 days and he has to receive fluids and pain relievers through an intravenous line. The pain occurs more often and lasts longer. Patient loses weight as the time passes and show symptoms of diabetes, including increased thirst, appetite, urination, fatigue, and weight loss. General symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include Pain, malabsorption of food leading to weight loss or diarrhea, diabetes, nausea, vomiting, fever and increased heart rate.
Patients must seek medical advice when they have intense, persistent abdominal pain, consult doctor to determine whether it is a symptom of pancreatitis or some other medical condition is the cause. It's important to diagnose pancreatitis early in order to avoid severe and permanent damage to pancreas.
Numerous complications may develop in severe cases of acute pancreatitis. A damaged pancreas may become infected with bacteria that spread from the small intestine into the pancreas. Signs of infection include fever, an elevated white blood cell count and, in severe cases, organ failure. Pancreatic infections can be deadly without thorough treatment, including drainage or surgery to remove the infected tissue. Sometimes doctor perform multiple operations. Another complication is pseudocysts. These are collections of pancreatic fluid and sometimes tissue debris that form within pancreas or in an obstructed duct. If the cyst is small, no particular care may be needed, but large, infected or bleeding pseudocysts need instant treatment. Abscess is a collection of pus in or near pancreas that may develop after the inception of acute pancreatitis. Treatment involves drainage of the abscess by catheter or surgery. There may be respiratory failure. Chemical changes in patient's body can affect his lung function, causing the level of oxygen in blood to fall to severely low levels. Shock usually occurs when blood pressure is very low so that patient's organs can not carry out their normal functions. Severe shock can cause death within minutes if treatment is not given immediately. Chronic pancreatitis can lead to bleeding because constant inflammation and damage to the blood vessels surrounding the pancreas cause potentially fatal bleeding. Patient may be drug addict. It is due to medical treatments for severe pancreatic pain is not always effectual. Pancreatic cancer. Long-term inflammation of the pancreas increases your risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most serious of all malignancies.
Physicians diagnose pancreatitis by checking the blood for levels of digestive enzymes such as amylase and lipase helps. If the level of these two enzymes is high in the blood then it is diagnosed as acute pancreatitis. As the patient recovers, the digestive enzyme levels will decrease to normal. Chronic pancreatitis generally is assumed when the patient has symptoms and risk factors such as heavy alcohol intake. Diagnosis can be complicated. Doctors use new techniques, including pancreatic function tests and x-ray imaging of the pancreas gland with a CT scan or retrograde pancreatography (ERCP) to diagnose it.
Treatment plan for acute pancreatitis is supportive management in the hospital. Generally, patients are given intravenous fluids and pain medication. Medical records, represent that approximately 20 percent of patients, the pancreatitis can be severe. The patient may need to be admitted in the intensive care unit because of damage that has occurred to other important organs such as the heart, lungs or kidneys. In some severe cases, surgery is done to remove permanently damaged parts of the gland. Chronic pancreatitis can be very difficult to treat. Medical doctors try to alleviate pain and improve nutritional and metabolic problems that result from pancreatic function loss. Patients are generally given pancreatic enzymes and insulin to supplement as it is not being secreted or released by the pancreas. In some instances, obstruction of the pancreatic duct would need a surgical drainage procedure.
It is a fact that pancreatitis occurs all of sudden and can not be prevented but patients can some precautions to reduce risk. They must not consume excessive alcohol. Smoking is also risk factor for this disease. Excessive fat intake must be avoided. Eating a high-fat diet can raise blood-fat levels and increase risk of gallstones which can lead to pancreatitis. A healthy diet comprises fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, and limits fats, especially saturated fats such as butter. Person must have to develop good habits and modify Lifestyle to avoid this disease. Chronic pancreatitis may have bad consequences such as pain and malabsorption of certain nutrients. It is better to avoid alcohol. Person must eat meals at short intervals. fat intake should be limited in diet. It will help reduce weight and oily stools that result from a lack of pancreatic enzymes. Diet should be rich in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy to help fight tiredness. Person must obtain most of daily calories from complex carbohydrates found in grains, vegetables and legumes. If he has diabetes, he must consult a dietitian. Dietician can make appropriate diet plan. It is always recommended to drink plenty of liquids.
Patients of pancreatitis may suffer from cause emotional stress. In order to deal with such problems, person must maintain normal daily activities as best he can. He must be in touch with friends and family and continue to do activities that he enjoys. It is to understand that physical health can impact directly on mental health. Denial, anger and frustration are common with chronic illnesses. In this crisis period, person must seek help of professionals such as therapists or behavioral psychologists. They can provide good advice to resolve emotional problems. They can also educate patient how to develop coping skills which include relaxation techniques that may help patient to live better life. If patient is suffering from a chronic illness, he is at greater risk of depression. At this time, it is better for patient to discuss with family, friends and doctor to come out with depression. These strategies will help to fight with disease and patient will relax.
Note: This information is just for knowledge of disease. If such type of medical condition develops, consult your doctor.