When the pancreas gets inflamed, due to various causes, such a health condition is referred to as Pancreatitis. Pancreas is a big gland located behind the stomach. Secretion of insulin, that is very essential for regulating the body glucose level, is main function of the pancreas. Malfunctioning or dysfunction can lead to development of diabetes. Secretion of digestive enzymes, which help us in digesting proteins, carbohydrates and fats, through pancreatic duct (a tube like structure) into small intestine is another function of pancreas. In Pancreatitis condition these enzymes become active inside pancreas and begin to digest the pancreas.
Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Severe pain in the upper abdominal region is main symptom of acute Pancreatitis. Such pain may persist for longer periods like few days. Other common symptoms include swelling in abdomen, tenderness of upper abdominal region, vomiting, nausea, fever, sweating, rapid pulse and mild jaundice.
Different Forms of Pancreatitis
Based on the nature and severity of symptoms, Pancreatitis is classified in two main categories Acute Pancreatitis and Chronic Pancreatitis.
- Acute Pancreatitis: Symptoms in this form of Pancreatitis surface suddenly but persist for considerably shorter time. Normally, people with this form of Pancreatitis may suffer from multiple attacks but recover totally after every attack. However, in some cases, it may be severe and prove to be life-threatening and may produce number of health complications. Approximately 80,000 Americans suffer from this illness every year and 20% of the total cases are severe.
- Chronic Pancreatitis: Unlike acute Pancreatitis which occurs all of sudden, chronic Pancreatitis develops gradually over a period of time. Development of chronic Pancreatitis results in gradual pancreas’ destruction. Alcohol abuse for prolonged periods is considered as the main cause behind chronic Pancreatitis. However, even a single attach of acute Pancreatitis can trigger the onset of chronic Pancreatitis if such attack lead to damage of pancreatic ducts. As result of chronic Pancreatitis production of enzymes and insulin is affected and that leads to inability in proper digestion.
Causes responsible for occurrence of Pancreatitis
Normally, acute Pancreatitis is result of consumption of excessive alcohol or gallstones. Gallstone causes blockage of pancreatic duct and trapping of digestive enzymes which leads to development of Pancreatitis.
Destruction of pancreas and surrounding tissues through attack of digestive enzymes is considered as main cause behind occurrence of chronic Pancreatitis. There are some other factors like excess of iron in blood and alcohol abuse which can contribute towards occurrence of chronic Pancreatitis. At times, chronic Pancreatitis may be triggered by single acute attack, specifically if such attack results in damage of pancreatic duct.
Health complications produced by Pancreatitis
There are number of complications associated with Pancreatitis. Following are some of the common and serious complications produced by Pancreatitis.
- Heart failure
- Low blood pressure
- Fluid accumulation in abdomen
- Kidney failure
- Development of abscesses or cysts in pancreas
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
Treatment options available for treating Pancreatitis
Treat of Pancreatitis depends upon the severity of attack and root cause behind development of Pancreatitis. Fortunately, acute Pancreatitis has the proprietary of resolving on its own, specifically in the cases serious complications like lungs problems and kidney failure does not occur.