Pancreatitis is a medical term for the inflammation of the pancreas, which is one of the most important organs in the human body. Pancreas is a part of the digestive system. The main role of this organ is the production of digestive enzymes that are used in disintegrating the consumed foods. Furthermore, the pancreas is also very important since it manufactures insulin and glucagon, which regulate the level of glucose in the blood. If the glucose level is high, it can lead to the developing of the diabetes.
Pancreatitis can be acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis appears suddenly and lasts very short, although the inflammation of the pancreas is severe. The main causes of the acute pancreatitis are gallstones and excessive consummation of alcohol. On the other hand, chronic pancreatitis occurs when the acute pancreatitis is frequent. The main consequence of this is the damage of the pancreas by the digestive enzymes. In the majority of cases, chronic pancreatitis is induced by alcoholism.
Symptoms of pancreatitis
Since there are two types of pancreatitis, their symptoms may vary. The most common symptom of acute pancreatitis is a strong and sharp pain in the upper abdomen that tends to expand to the back and below the left shoulder blade. When one is lying on the back or consumes alcohol or foods rich in fats, the pain is likely to aggravate. The people with this condition may also experience sweating, fever, nausea and vomiting, as well as bloating, swollen abdomen and indigestion. Furthermore, the symptoms of acute pancreatitis are also skin rash, hiccups, clay-colored stools and rapid pulse.
Sometimes, acute pancreatitis is so severe that it can lead to dehydration, hypotension, renal or heart failure. The most common warning sings of chronic pancreatitis are weight loss, smelly and fatty stools, excretion of proteins, sugars and fats into the stool, persistent pain in the upper abdomen that lasts for hours or days, and indigestion.
Causes of pancreatitis
In the majority of cases, even in 80-90% of pancreatitis, the main causes were alcoholism and gallstones formed in the gallbladder. When one consumes alcohol for a long period of time, it can lead to the damage and inflammation of the pancreas. On the other hand, when the gallstones are formed, they may block the pancreatic duct and lead to the build up of digestive enzymes in the pancreas. This accumulation then causes the inflammation because the digestive enzymes become active and start to digest the tissues of the pancreas.