Chronic Pancreatitis

Chronic Pancreatitis

Overview

The pancreas produces digestive enzymes and glucose regulating hormones. Inflammation of the pancreas is called as Pancreatitis or Chronic Pancreatitis. It can vary from a chronic condition that lasts for years to an acute condition that could last for a few days.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis are sudden weight loss, pain in the upper abdominal area and a condition of smelly oily stools known as steatorrhea.

Causes and risk factors

When the digestive enzymes are activated while in the pancreas, they cause inflammation cause damage. A family history of Pancreatitis, obesity, excessive smoking and alcohol consumption are high-risk factors for triggering Pancreatitis.

Complications

Chronic Pancreatitis is a life-threatening condition if left untreated. Waste fluids get accumulated in the pancreas, that cause internal bleeding or damage. Further, it can lead to pancreatic infections, diabetes, kidney failure, malnutrition or severe complications like pancreatic cancer.

Diagnosis

To diagnose Pancreatitis, blood tests, stool tests, imaging tests like MRI, CT scan, and Endoscopic Ultrasound are performed.

Surgery

Pancreatitis treatment depends on its cause. Cholecystectomy or removal of the gall bladder is one surgical treatment, in case of gall bladder stones are causing it. Another surgery advised is to remove the infected tissues of the pancreas. ERCP - endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, a process in which blocked bile duct is opened using a tube is also advised for some cases.

Prevention

The risk of Pancreatitis can be reduced by limiting alcoholic intake, increased intake of water and fresh fruits and low- sugar and low- fat foods.

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