The pancreas is an organ located in the upper abdomen. It performs two very important functions – hormonal and digestive. It supplies the small intestine with enzymes that enable food digestion and produces hormones responsible for regulating blood glucose levels. There are acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis.
Acute pancreatitis symptoms
Symptoms suggesting acute pancreatitis include severe epigastric pain, which occurs suddenly and radiates to the back. It usually lasts longer than one day, appears suddenly and gradually becomes more and more intense. Other symptoms are severe vomiting, abdominal distension as well as stool and gas suppression. A decrease in pressure as well as an acceleration of the heart rate also indicate acute pancreatitis.
A reddening skin color is also a disturbing symptom. If we recognize any of these symptoms, we must seek medical help immediately. Until the diagnosis is made, refrain from eating.
Acute pancreatitis treatment
In the case of acute pancreatitis, we must undergo intensive treatment in a surgical department or intensive care. Surgical treatment is required for patients whose conservative treatment hasn‘t had the expected effects, and for people who have complications, such as infected necrosis or pancreatic abscess. If acute pancreatitis is mild, we can be treated with short-term fasting, lasting about 4 days. If cholelithiasis has appeared, the gallbladder must be removed. If the inflammation is severe, patients are fed enterally.
Chronic pancreatitis symptoms
- The most common symptom of chronic pancreatitis is abdominal pain, usually lasting from several hours to several days. It often appears after drinking alcohol or a stodgy meal. Pain appears in the epigastrium and radiates to the right or left hypochondrium.
- Another symptom is weight loss, which results from limiting food intake due to pain after a meal. Periodic jaundice, which occurs during or after pain, may also indicate chronic pancreatitis. The reason is the occurrence of pancreatic edema, which compresses the bile duct. However, jaundice usually goes away after a while.
- Another symptom we can observe is diarrhea. It is caused by reduced secretion of enzymes, which leads to worsening of digestion and absorption of food. In addition, endocrine failure may occur later in chronic pancreatitis, leading to glucose intolerance. This affects the patient’s diet, which must be modified.
Chronic pancreatitis treatment
Chronic pancreatitis is usually treated by administering pancreatic enzymes to patients. If diabetes developed during illness, insulin administration is required. If drug treatment isn‘t effective, we must undergo endoscopic surgery. When the pain doesn‘t go away, surgical treatment is necessary. The solution that brings results is the removal of the head of the pancreas with part of the stomach and duodenum. Chronic pancreatitis and acute pancreatitis are ailments that have a very negative impact on our health. If you notice any symptoms, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible to start treatment, which will have better effects if it‘s introduced at the beginning of the disease.