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All about pancreatitis causes of pancreatitis symptoms of pancreatitis risk factors for pancreatitis complications of pancreatitis acute pancreatitis causes of acute pancreatitis symptoms of acute pancreatitis diagnosis of acute pancreatitis treatment for acute pancreatitis chronic pancreatitis causes of chronic pancreatitis symptoms of chronic pancreatitis diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis treatment for chronic pancreatitis prevention of pancreatitis

What is acute pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling with presence of extra immune cells) of the pancreas. The pancreas is an elongated, tapered gland, located behind the stomach, that secretes digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon. Pancreatitis is a condition associated with development of acute and sudden inflammation of the

pancreas. Experimental data show that during an attack of pancreatitis, pancreatic enzymes are released in the abdomen and cause inflammation by the damage from digestion of normal body structures, especially fat in the abdomen. In about 85% of patients, acute pancreatitis is a mild disease and is usually associated with a rapid recovery within a few days of onset of the illness.

The digestive enzymes (chemicals) that are made in the pancreas become activated and start to 'digest' parts of the pancreas. (They are normally only activated after they reach the duodenum). This leads to a range of chemical reactions that cause inflammation in the pancreas. How the above causes actually trigger this sequence of events is not clear.

In most cases, the inflammation is mild and settles within a week or so. Symptoms may be bad for a few days but then settle and the pancreas fully recovers. In some cases the inflammation quickly becomes severe. Parts of the pancreas and surrounding tissues may die (necrose). Pancreatic enzymes and chemicals may get into the bloodstream and cause inflammation and damage to other organs in the body. This can lead to shock, respiratory failure, kidney failure and other complications. This is a very serious situation which can be fatal.

More information on pancreatitis

What is pancreatitis? - Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that may occur as an acute, painful attack. Pancreatitis, an occasional side effect of ddI, can result in severe abdominal pain and death.
What causes pancreatitis? - Heavy alcohol use over many years is a leading cause of chronic pancreatitis. A leading cause of acute pancreatitis is gallstones.
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis? - Pancreatitis symptoms are characterized by severe pain in the middle of the abdomen that occurs secondary to inflammation of the pancreas.
What are the risk factors for pancreatitis? - Gallstones (lumps of solid material found in the gallbladder) and alcohol abuse (in 80 percent of all cases) are major risk fators forpancreatitis.
What are the complications of pancreatitis? - Complications of pancreatitis can be conceptualized as occurring in two domains one as local and one as systemic complications.
What is acute pancreatitis? - Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling with presence of extra immune cells) of the pancreas.
What causes acute pancreatitis? - Gallstones and excessive alcohol usage are the most common causes for injury to the pancreas and account for more than 85% of all patients that develop pancreatitis.
What are the symptoms of acute pancreatitis? - Acute pancreatitis generally starts with a pain in the upper abdomen. Other symptoms include diarrhea, bloating and fever.
How is acute pancreatitis diagnosed? - The diagnosis of acute pancreatitis can be challenging because the signs and symptoms of other medical conditions can mimic those of pancreatitis.
What is the treatment for acute pancreatitis? - The goals of treatment of acute pancreatitis are to alleviate pancreatic inflammation and to correct the underlying cause.
What is chronic pancreatitis? - Chronic pancreatitis is a condition associated with widespread scarring and destruction of pancreatic tissue.
What causes chronic pancreatitis? - The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is long-term excessive alcohol consumption. Other causes include high levels of calcium in the blood, abnormalities in anatomy.
What are the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis? - Some people with chronic pancreatitis have no pain. Patients with this disease often lose weight, even when their appetite and eating habits are normal.
How is chronic pancreatitis diagnosed? - Diagnosing chronic pancreatitis in its early stages is often difficult. Diagnosis may be aided by a number of new techniques.
What is the treatment for chronic pancreatitis? - The doctor treats chronic pancreatitis by relieving pain and managing the nutritional and metabolic problems.
How to prevent pancreatitis? - Pancreatitis caused by gallstones can not be absolutely prevented. A healthy weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise can redce the risk of forming gallstones. 
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