What is Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis means inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreas is a large gland behind the abdomen and next to the small intestine and it has a very crucial role in the process of digestion as it produces two types of substances:

  • Digestive enzymes: digestive enzymes include enzymes and bicarbonate.
  • Digestive hormones: it includes insulin and glucagon.

Pancreatitis is an acute and chronic disease. Both have their own complications. Pancreatitis can be life threatening too.

Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly and it can also be life threatening. Usually, a patient gets recovered in around 2-3 days of treatment but in some cases the conditions become worse and it can cause danger to the life of the patient. It can occur due to the consumption of alcohol. The patient with acute pancreatitis may feel severe pain in the upper abdomen which can go to the back.

The attacks are usually for a short duration of time and go on its own. But sometimes, the attacks are very severe and the patient may feel pain for around a week. The pain can be mild and the conditions can go worse after eating. The patient looks very ill and tired. The patient may feel fever, nausea and vomiting too. Due to acute pancreatitis, kidneys, lungs and heart can also fail. It needs immediate medical consultation. Pancreatitis can be diagnosed with the help of ultrasound of the abdomen, CT scan, endoscopic ultrasound and MRCP (Magnetic Resonance cholangiopancreatography). This type of pancreatitis can be treated properly if diagnosed at a right time. The patient may need to be hospitalized for some days and he would not be able to eat anything.

Chronic pancreatitis is a type of pancreatitis which does not gets improve and the conditions gets worse with time. It will permanently damage the entire system and will result in the death of the patient. The main cause of this type of pancreatitis is the consumption of alcohol from a long period of time and heavy consumption. The patient with chronic pancreatitis may feel nausea, vomiting, fever, tired, weight loss and loss of appetite.

Chronic pancreatitis can also be diagnosed with the same exams as the acute pancreatitis is diagnosed. The patient will have to be hospitalized for the treatment. In most of the cases, the treatment does not give any good result. It can only reduce the pain of the patient but it would not cure chronic pancreatitis completely. Patient will have many complications and he is advised not to drink and smoke strictly. If he will drink or smoke, it will be very harmful for his health and the conditions can get worse. Acute pancreatitis can also become chronic pancreatitis if proper care is not taken and the disease is not diagnosed at the right time.