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Understanding Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis

Pancreatic disorders are mostly linked to gall bladder disease and alcoholism. In fact more than 80% of pancreatitis cases are due to these two reasons. Although the disease is treatable in its mild form but when get severe causes serious health damages.

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of your pancreas, a large gland behind stomach. Pancreas produces digestive enzymes and has an important role in maintaining your blood sugar level by releasing insulin and glucagon in the bloodstream.

When these digestive enzymes instead of helping in digestion start harming the organ itself, pancreas get inflamed and gradually its tissues start getting damaged. Your digestive system gets affected and you are at high risk of developing diabetes as the organ stops functioning normally. If not treated on time it can lead to serious conditions such as damaging your major organs.

Types of pancreatitis

There are two types of pancreatitis – acute and chronic.

Acute pancreatitis

It is a sudden pancreatic inflammation that mostly goes away soon and can recur also. This type of pancreatitis appears with symptoms like upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever etc. The intensity of acute pancreatitis varies from mild to severe health damage. You are at risk of diabetes and in severe cases it can even be fatal.  Acute pancreatitis can get life-threatening by completely damaging your pancreas and other organs of the body like heart, lungs, and kidney.

Chronic pancreatitis

Pancreatic inflammation can damage the pancreas severely. It lasts for longer duration and usually occurs after an episode of acute pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis mostly appears suddenly without any prior symptom mainly to those who are serious alcoholics for many years.

Causes of pancreatitis

  • Heavy alcohol drinking
  • Gallstones in gall bladder
  • High level of fat in your blood
  • Intake of certain prescribed drugs
  • Hereditary abnormalities of the pancreas
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Due to any surgery in the abdomen like kidney transplant
  • Structural abnormalities of the pancreas or intestine
  • Rarely due to infections, such as mumps, HIV etc

Signs & symptoms

  • Intense abdominal pain on the right side that radiates to the back
  • Shallow breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure

Treatment

Your doctor will plan the treatment based on the intensity of the disease. It generally includes fluid, medications and antibiotics. The doctor would relieve you from the symptoms like fever, vomiting etc.

In severe cases of pancreatitis you would need intense care and may be kept in ICU (Intensive Care Unit). The treatment aims to decrease inflammation, limit infection, and to identify cause and treat complications.

In cases of chronic pancreatitis, a surgical treatment may be recommended like gallstone removal (endoscopy), pancreas resection (removal of infected/inflamed part of pancreas), or total pancreatectomy (removal of complete pancreas).

Prevention of pancreatitis

  • Stop or limit your alcohol intake as it will not only prevents pancreatitis but lower your chances of developing liver cancer or pancreatic cancer
  • Follow healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables and fruits to avoid gallstones
  • Stick to low fat diet and avoid high cholesterol foods like red meat and butter
  • Exercise and maintain healthy body weight
  • Stop smoking

If you need any guidance and information regarding any kind of Pancreatitis treatment in India call our patient advisors for ‘free’ guidance.

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