Table of Contents
- Pancreatitis facts
- What is pancreatitis?
- What are the causes of pancreatitis?
- What are the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis?
- How is pancreatitis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for pancreatitis?
- Medications for pancreatitis
- Is there a special diet for pancreatitis?
- What are some of the complications of pancreatitis?
- Can pancreatitis be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for pancreatitis?
Quick GuideWhat's Causing Your Abdominal Pain?
What is pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas.
- The pancreas is an abdominal gland situated behind the stomach in the upper abdomen.
- The main function of the pancreas is to secrete hormones and enzymes that help with digestion and regulate blood sugar (glucose) metabolism.
- The digestive enzymes are released via the pancreatic duct into the small intestine where they are activated to help break down fats and proteins.
- The digestive hormones (insulin and glucagon) produced by the pancreas are released into the blood stream where they help regulate blood sugar levels.
Pancreatitis is categorized as being either acute or chronic.
- Acute pancreatitis generally develops suddenly, and it is usually a short-term (a few days to weeks) illness that typically resolves with appropriate medical management.
- Chronic pancreatitis, which typically develops after multiple episodes of acute pancreatitis, is a long-term condition that can last for months or even several years.
Pancreatitis is a condition that may be mild and self-limiting, though it can also lead to severe complications that can be life-threatening. The acute form of pancreatitis, in its most severe form, can have deleterious effects on many other body organs, including the lungs and kidneys.
Gardner, Timothy B. MD. "Acute Pancreatitis." MedscapeReference. Updated Sep 12, 2016.