Before we can talk about pancreatitis, it is important to understand the function of the pancreas. Pancreas are responsible for producing certain digestive enzymes that are eventually released in the small intestine for digestion. It also releases two major hormones – glucagon and insulin. Pancreatitis is a digestive disorder that causes inflammation of the pancreas. This mainly happens because the enzymes start working in the pancreas before getting released in the small intestine. Below are some of the other facts.
Types of pancreatitis
- Acute pancreatitis. In case of acute pancreatitis, the patient keeps getting sudden bouts of pain, which is associated with the inflammation of the gland. If treatment starts early, the patient can do better in a short time, but in extreme cases, it can lead to tissue damage and can also cause bleeding from the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis is known to impact the kidneys and heart.
- Chronic pancreatitis. This is a condition that’s mostly seen after acute pancreatitis. In this case, the inflammation of the gland continues to last for a long time. Where it’s not related to acute pancreatitis, the condition might be a result of alcohol abuse, which can also impact the liver in the long run. If it’s related to alcohol, the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis may emerge after years of heavy drinking.
Know the symptoms
The symptoms of pancreatitis can vary, depending on the type of the condition. In case of acute pancreatitis, patients usually complain of pain in the abdomen and may have additional pain while having food. The abdomen may feel tender and bloated, and mild fever, nausea and vomiting can persist. As for chronic pancreatitis, the symptoms are almost same to acute pancreatitis, except for the fact that the pain is more frequent. Some patients have a hard time moving around when they have pain. Since pancreatitis impacts the digestion process, the patient may some issues with stools, and in severe cases, unexplained weight loss can occur.
Experts of United Surgical Partners International recommend patients to get checked if they have consistent pain in the abdomen. Any kind of swelling and pain in the stomach can be related to other gastrointestinal diseases, and therefore it is best to seek medical advice in time, especially if the pain doesn’t seem to get better in a day or two.
Pancreatitis is a treatable condition, and with little extra caution, you can prevent most of the serious complications.