Pancreatitis

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: Steven Doerr, MD
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

Quick GuideWhat's Causing Your Abdominal Pain?

What'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. Continue Reading

Illustration of the Pancreas
Illustration of the Pancreas
Reviewed on 5/28/2015
References
REFERENCE: MedscapeReference. Acute Pancreatitis.

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