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Pancreatitis is a health problem that occurs when the pancreatic digestive enzymes are activated before they reach the small intestine and as a result, are beginning to cause inflammation.
The chronic form of the disease is a long-term problem and occurs most often due to the early appearance of acute inflammation of the pancreas. The disease can as well occur in conjunction with chronic consumption of alcohol, which causes the severe damage to the pancreas which predisposes state, which is an inflammation of the pancreas.
The symptoms of pancreatitis
The symptoms of the disease in case of chronic forms include:
- epigastric pain, radiating to the back, appearing especially after a meal (especially greasy)
- swelling of the abdomen and abdominal tenderness, especially during the touch,
- nausea and vomiting,
- increased heart rate.
People suffering from the disease, often complain of constant pain in the upper abdomen, but there are situations that pain is imperceptible. In patients with chronic pancreatitis, may also occur a significant weight loss, due to problems with the absorption of food. Enzymes are not able to adequately quickly digested the food, which is not sufficiently absorbed. Often along with pancreatitis also appears diabetes – especially when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are damaged.
The causes of pancreatitis
On average, approximately 70% of patients, chronic form of the disease is caused by alcohol abuse for a long time. Among other causes of illness, mention may be gallstones, inherited diseases of the pancreas, cystic fibrosis, high levels of triglycerides in the blood or the use of certain medications. The remaining part of the occurrence of cases of pancreatitis remains unknown.
Factors that increase the risk of pancreatitis can include excessive alcohol consumption, certain inherited conditions like cystic fibrosis, gallstones or excessive levels of triglycerides and lupus.
People who touch the disease is most common in men aged 30 to 40 years, but chronic form of pancreatitis also affects women.
Diagnosis and treatment of pancreatitis
For the diagnosis of pancreatitis, it is necessary to measure two digestive enzymes in the blood – amylase and lipase.
Sometimes they are also performed additional tests as:
- functional tests of the pancreas,
- glucose tolerance tests for measuring the destruction of pancreatic cells,
- ultrasound, computed tomography, MRI,
- pancreatic biopsy.
Treatment for persistent the disease can be severe, however, in general. First, doctors try to alleviate the patient’s pain and improve digestive problems which impede the absorption of the body with nutrients. In general, patients require of administration of pancreatic enzymes and insulin, in particular when hormone-secreting cells have been damaged. Helpful is sometimes also a low-fat diet.
Some cases of the disease necessitate concrete a surgical operation, which in certain cases may be the only solution to help alleviate the abdominal pain, restore adequate drainage of pancreatic enzymes or hormones assist in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis and reduce the frequency of pain attacks.