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What Is

Pancreatitis?

Know the organ "Pancreas"

The pancreas is a gland organ that is located in the abdomen, behind the stomach and below the rib­cage. It is part of the digestive system and produces important enzymes and hormones that help in breaking down food. It is both an exocrine and an endocrine organ.The pancreas is about 15 cm long and is divided into the head of pancreas, the neck, the body, and the tail of pancreas. 

Enzymes, or digestive juices, produced by the pancreas are secreted into the small intestine to further break down food after it has left the stomach. The gland also produces the hormone insulin and se­cretes it into the bloodstream in order to regulate the body's glucose or sugar level. 

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Pancreatic Disorders

Pancreas does more than one role in the body. Not only do most pancreatic tissues produce a large share of the enzymes essential for digestion but also tissues of the pancreatic islets secrete insulin, glucagon, amyl in and somatostatin hormones.(2) When the pancreas is not functioning well symptoms such as abdominal tenderness, swelling, or pain, nausea or vomiting, excess gas, diarrhea, foul-smell­ing stool, light colored stool, fever, weight loss and malnutrition. Most common disorders of the pancre­as include Acute and Chronic Pancreatitis. 

What is Pancreatitis?

Definition

Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas. It results from auto-digestion of pancreatic tissues by its own enzymes.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Pancreatitis include epigastric pain, vomiting, nausea, steatorrhea and weight loss. Associated symptoms of the disease include flatulence, bloating, poor blood sugar control, fatigue, back pain and anemia.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of the disease is made by a competent gastroenterologist based on history and clinical symptoms of the patient along with pathological and radiological tests. 

Pathological

Serum Amylase and Lipase levels are elevated more than three times in patients under an attack of Pancreatitis.

Radiological

Ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT) scan, Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS). 

Complications

There are two types of possible pancreatitis complications; local and systemic ones. Local complica­tions from pancreatitis include abscess, necrosis, pseudocyst (fluid collection), fistualization, ileus, gas­trointestinal hemorrhage, obstruction of the bile duct, pseudo aneurysm and phlegmon.