The pancreas is a gland organ located in the abdomen, at the back of the stomach. It helps convert the food we eat into fuel for the body’s cells. The pancreas releases insulin and other important digestive enzymes and hormones that help break down foods. Abnormal activity of the digestive enzymes can cause inflammation in the pancreas. This condition is called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can happen due to mumps, gallstones, trauma and use of alcohol, steroids, and drugs.
Alcohol abuse and gallstones are the two main causes of pancreatitis, together they account for 80-90 percent of the diagnosed cases. Mild pancreatitis may heal without treatment, but more severe cases can cause life-threatening complications.
Acute pancreatitis may lead to persistent pain in the upper abdomen and back. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, fever, muscle aches, mild jaundice, elevated heartbeat. Repeated acute pancreatitis can lead to chronic pancreatitis, resulting in permanent damage. Along with these symptoms, chronic pancreatitis can result in diabetes, weight loss and anemia.
The diagnosis of pancreatitis is done thorough physical examination, blood tests, stool tests, computerized tomography (CT) scan and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.
Usually, the treatment of pancreatitis focuses on managing the symptoms and preventing aggravation. The treatment may help relieve pain, improve the gland organ’s function, and manage complications.
How to manage pancreatitis
People with pancreatitis are advised to follow these recommendations:
Avoid alcohol use
Even if it is mild or in the early stages, people with pancreatitis should stop drinking alcohol to prevent further damage. Continuing to drink alcohol can lead to more episodes of acute pancreatitis and result in chronic pancreatitis. Further alcohol consumption can lead to severe complications and even death.
Quit smoking, else your pancreatitis will become chronic. Studies say the chances of getting pancreatitis are higher in people who smoke and drink alcohol. Smoking with pancreatitis may also increase your risk of pancreatic cancer.
Eat foods that are rich in protein, low in animal fats, and contain antioxidants. You may add lean meats, beans and lentils, clear soups, and dairy alternatives (such as flax milk and almond milk) that can be easily digested. Spinach, blueberries, cherries, and whole grains can help fight the free radicals that damage your organs. Avoid added sugars as people with pancreatitis are at high risk for diabetes.
Published : January 5, 2020 4:50 pm