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Pancrease: Functions, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis And Its Treatment

The Pancrease (Pancreas) is a gland, around six inches long, situated in the abdomen. It is created like a flat pear encircled by the stomach, small intestine, liver, spleen, and gallbladder. The wide end of the Pancrease on the right side of the body is known as the head. The middle segments are the neck and body. The thin end of the Pancrease on the left edge of the body is shouting the tail.

The uncinate method is the part of the gland that curves in reverse and beneath the head of the Pancrease. Two vital blood vessels, the superior mesenteric artery and only the mesenteric vein, cross behind the neck of the Pancrease and in front of the uncinate process. The Pancrease is both an exocrine gland and endocrine gland and has two main functions – digestion and blood sugar regulation.

1. Functions of the Pancreas

A healthy Pancrease produces the correct chemicals in the proper quantities, at the right times, to digest the foods we eat.

Exocrine Function:

The Pancrease contains exocrine glands that produce enzymes critical to digestion. These enzymes include:
Trypsin and chymotrypsin to digest proteins. Amylase for the digestion of carbohydrates. Lipase to separate fats.

Exocrine Function
Source: Wikipedia

When food enters the abdomen, these pancreatic juices are delivered into a duct system that culminates in the primary pancreatic duct. The pancreatic duct joins the usual bile duct to form the ampulla of Vater situated at the small intestine’s primary portion, called the duodenum.

The primary bile duct originates in the liver and the gallbladder and produces another significant digestive juice called bile. The pancreatic juices and bile delivered into the duodenum help the body digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Endocrine Function:

The pancreas’ endocrine component comprises islet cells (islets of Langerhans) that make and deliver powerful hormones directly into the bloodstream. Two of the principal pancreatic hormones are insulin, which brings down blood sugar, and glucagon, raising blood sugar. Maintaining actual blood sugar levels is critical to crucial organs, including the brain, liver, and kidneys.

2. Pancreatitis Is Classified as Being Either Acute or Chronic

Acute pancreatitis generally prospers unexpectedly, and it is generally a short-term (a few days to weeks) illnesses that resolves with appropriate medical management.

Chronic pancreatitis, which typically develops after different acute pancreatitis episodes, is a long-term condition that can continue for months or even several years.

3. How Do I Know if I Have Pancreatitis?

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain that might radiate to the back
  • Pain that worsens after eating
  • Chills and fever
  • Tenderness of the abdomen to touch
  • Lethargy and weakness

a. Causes

Pancreatitis happens when digestive enzymes become activated while still in the Pancrease, irritating the cells of your Pancrease and causing inflammation.

With repeated bouts of acute pancreatitis, harm to the Pancrease can happen and lead to chronic pancreatitis. Scar tissue may form in the Pancrease, causing loss of function. An ineffectively functioning Pancrease can root digestion problems and diabetes.

b. Conditions That Can Lead to Pancreatitis Include

  • Stomach surgery
  • Alcoholism
  • Definite medications
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Gallstones
  • High calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia), whatever might be caused by an overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism)
  • High triglyceride levels in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia)
  • Infection
  • Injury to the abdomen
  • Obesity
  • Pancreatic cancer

c. Risk Factors

Factors That Expansion Your Risk of Pancreatitis Include

Excessive Liquor Consumption.

Research shows that heavy alcohol users (individuals who consume four to five drinks a day) are at increased risk of pancreatitis.

Risk Factors

Source: Wikipedia

Cigarette Smoking

Smokers are, on average, three times more likely to develop chronic pancreatitis compared with nonsmokers. The excellent news is quitting smoking reductions your risk by about half.


You’re more likely to get pancreatitis if you’re obese.

Family Record of Pancreatitis

The role of genetics is getting progressively recognized in chronic pancreatitis. If you have family members among the condition, your odds increase — particularly when combined with other risk factors.

4. What Foods to Eat While Recovering From Pancreatitis?

The best food decisions for those experiencing chronic pancreatitis are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nonfat/low-fat dairy, and lean meat cuts. Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, maybe consumed with careful portion control.

a. What Not to Eat if You Possess Pancreatitis

Foods to limit include:

  • Red meat
  • Organ meats
  • Fried foods
  • Fries and potato chips
  • Mayonnaise
  • Margarine and butter
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Pastries and desserts with added sugars
  • Beverages with added sugars

b. Diagnosis

Tests and procedures used to analyze pancreatitis include:

  • Blood tests to look for quantifying levels of pancreatic enzymes
  • Stool tests in chronic pancreatitis to measure fat levels that suggest your digestive system isn’t absorbing nutrients sufficiently.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan to view for gallstones and evaluate the extent of Pancrease inflammation
  • Abdominal ultrasound to look for gallstones and Pancrease inflammation
  • Endoscopic ultrasound to look for swelling and blockages in the pancreatic duct or bile duct
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to see for abnormalities in the gallbladder, Pancrease, and ducts

c. Treatment

Initial treatments in the hospital may include:

Fasting. You’ll quit eating for a couple of days in the hospital to give your Pancrease a chance to recover.

Once the inflammation in your Pancrease is controlled, you may start drinking clear fluids and eating bland foods. With time, you might go back to your regular diet.

If your pancreatitis persists and you quite experience pain when eating, your doctor may endorse a feeding tube to help you get nutrition.

Pain medications. Pancreatitis can cause severe pain. Your health care team will give you medicines to help control the pain.

Intravenous (IV) fluids. As your body commits energy and liquids to repair your Pancrease, you may get dehydrated. Consequently, you’ll receive more fluids through a vein in your arm during your hospital stay.

IV fluids

Once your pancreatitis is under management, your health care team can treat the fundamental reason for your pancreatitis. Contingent upon the reason for your pancreatitis, treatment may include:

d. Procedures to Eliminate Bile Duct Obstructions

Pancreatitis provoked by a narrowed or blocked bile duct might require methods to open or widen the bile duct.

A procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) utilizes a long tube with a camera on the end to examine your Pancrease and bile ducts. The line is passed down your throat, and the camera sends pictures of your digestive system to a monitor.

ERCP can help in diagnosing issues in the bile duct and pancreatic duct and in making repairs. In specific individuals, especially the elderly, ERCP can likewise lead to acute pancreatitis.

Gallbladder surgery. If gallstones cause your pancreatitis, your doctor might recommend surgery to eliminate your gallbladder (cholecystectomy).

Pancrease surgery. Surgery may be necessary to drain liquid from your Pancrease or to eliminate diseased tissue.

Treatment for alcohol dependence. Drinking several drinks a day over numerous years can cause pancreatitis. Continuing to drink might worsen your pancreatitis and lead to severe complications. If this is the reason for your pancreatitis, your doctor may suggest you enter a treatment program for alcohol addiction.

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