What Is pancreatitis?
When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it is pancreatitis.
The pancreas is the big gland found in the upper section of the abdomen, behind the stomach. It produces digestive enzymes and hormones.
It helps in digestion of food bypassing active digestive enzymes into the small intestine.
Also, the pancreas releases two hormones into the blood: insulin and glucagon. Both hormones help in the way the body receives energy from its food source.
There are 2 types of pancreatitis, chronic and acute; each symptom is quite different from each other.
Alcoholism and gallstones are the two leading causes of acute pancreatitis.
What are the warning signs of pancreatitis?
If you believe you may have pancreatitis, it is essential to find out which one you have so you are treated accordingly.
Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden pain of the pancreas.
The usual general symptom of acute pancreatitis is upper abdominal pain.
The pain can start in the center of the body, directly under the ribs. Although, sometimes it can be felt on either the right or left side.
It can also spread to the front of the stomach to the back. Sometimes sleeping on your side can decrease the pain or when you bend over.
Usually, the pain can start to get worse after you eat.
The pain can go from tolerable to intensity quickly within a few minutes that could be life-threatening.
In a more severe case, the complications of the pain could cause severe damage to the tissue, such as kidney or heart failure, respiratory problems, and bleeding into the gland and form of a cyst.
Other common acute pancreatitis symptoms include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Increased heartbeat
- Pain may last for many days
- Fever (A fever with acute pancreatitis could reach 100 to 101 F)
- Difficulty breathing.
Most people with acute pancreatitis recover fully within a week after getting the proper treatment.
Chronic Pancreatitis Symptoms
Chronic pancreatitis symptoms can be the result of consuming large amounts of alcohol for years. Over time, the pancreas may be damaged.
People with chronic pancreatitis experience chronic or constant abdominal pain, sometimes followed by nausea and vomiting.
Other common symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include:
- Weight loss
- Oily stools (smell especially bad)
- Pain after eating
- High blood sugar levels
What causes pancreatitis?
The typical causes of both acute and chronic pancreatitis include:
- Massive alcohol drinking for a long time
- Genetic disorders of your pancreas
- Injury to your abdomen
- pancreatic cancer
- Some hereditary diseases, such as cystic fibrosis