General Health

Pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas | Updated 2023

In the human body, the pancreas is located at the back of the stomach, right next to the small intestine. This organ plays an important role in digestion and is responsible for secreting digestive juices to speed up the rate of digestion in the small intestine. The organ is also responsible for secreting insulin and glucagon in the body.
Inflammation of this vital organ of the body is called pancreatitis.

This condition occurs when there is an abnormality in the activity of the enzymes secreted by the pancreas. Pancreatitis occurs when pancreatic enzymes are activated before they reach the small intestine. Therefore, they attack the pancreas, leading to inflammation.

Types of pancreatitis

There are essentially two types of conditions:

Acute pancreatitis leads to an unexpected swelling of the pancreas, which usually only lasts for a short time. Acute pancreatitis can cause discomfort and cause bleeding in the organ. It can also lead to the formation of cysts, which can become cancerous. Sometimes a severe case of acute pancreatitis can affect other organs of the body, such as the lungs, heart, and even the kidneys.

Chronic pancreatitis is defined as swelling of the pancreas that lasts for a long period of time. This type of pancreatitis generally occurs in people suffering from alcohol addiction.


Inflammation of the pancreas can cause symptoms such as upper abdominal pain, which initially starts in the back. This pain can be intensified after a meal. It can also cause excessive nausea followed by vomiting. If the condition is severe, it can cause a fever and an increase in the body’s heart rate.
The symptoms of both types of pancreas are very similar. More obvious symptoms of pancreatitis include weight loss and the development of diabetes.

risk factors

People at risk of pancreatitis are usually alcoholics or have gallstone problems. Those suffering from certain hereditary diseases, such as cysts, are also prone to pancreatitis.

diagnosis of the condition

Diagnosing pancreatitis involves certain tests that doctors use to check the levels of two pancreatic enzymes in the body’s bloodstream. These are amylase and lipase. A very high level of both enzymes in the blood indicates severe pancreatitis. These tests are; Pancreatic function test, ultrasound, glucose tolerance test, ERCP, CT scan and even a biopsy.

Treatment of pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is treated with the use of IV fluids and the use of medication to relieve pain. If the condition is very severe, the patient is usually admitted to the intensive care unit. The patient is closely monitored because pancreatitis can also affect and damage other organs in the body. If the pancreas tissue becomes damaged, surgery to remove the tissue may be done to prevent any type of infection from developing.

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