Pancreatitis is actually an inflammation of the pancreas. This inflammation could be an acute one which could eventually disappear in some days. However, if the inflammation is chronic then it can span through years.
Pancreatitis causes attacks of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting worsened by eating and drinking alcohol. Acute Pancreatitis can be life threatening.
The pancreas is a gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum. The pancreas secretes digestive juices (enzymes) into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes along with bile helps in digestion of food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon. These hormones help the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy.
Here are some of the symptoms that you need to look for:
Upper abdominal pain
Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating
Swelling &Tenderness in the abdomen
Chronic pancreatitis signs and symptoms include
Losing weight without trying
Oily, smelly stools (steatorrhea)
Severe Acute Pancreatitis May cause Dehydration and Low blood pressure
Pancreatitis happens when the digestive enzymes produced by our pancreas get activated while being inside the pancreas thereby causing damage to the organ.
Normally, pancreatic digestive enzymes do not become active until they reach the small intestine.
A number of causes have been identified for acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis, including:
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), when used to treat gallstones
Family history of pancreatitis
High calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia)
High levels of parathyroid hormone in the blood (hyperparathyroidism)
High triglyceride levels in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia)
Injury to the abdomen
Through medical history and physical examination
Pancrease enzyme levels During acute pancreatitis amylase and lipase are increased almost 3 times.
Glucose, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and bicarbonate
Abdomen Ultra Sonography:
CT Scan may show gall stones and extent of damage to pancreas
Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) to see visual images of the pancreas and bile duct.
Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP). MRCP uses magnetic imaging tht produces cross section images of parts of the body, help to show pancreas, gall bladder , pancreas and bile ducts.
Chronic pancreatitis in children is rare. More often cause of pancreatitis in children is unknown, often preceded by viral infection such as URI. Trauma to the pancreas and hereditary pancreatitis are two known causes of childhood pancreatitis. Children with cystic fibrosis may be at risk of developing pancreatitis