Pancreatitis (acute and chronic): what is it, symptoms and treatment

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Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, causing symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, tenderness and yellowing. This organ is primarily responsible for the digestion of food in the small intestine. This inflammation occurs due to the fact that the pancreatic enzymes are activated while and when they are in the intestine, the causes can be the presence of gallstones, alcoholism, smoking and even the use of certain medications.

Pancreatitis is classified according to the time of evolution in:

  • acutela which appears suddenly y lasts tan only one day y;
  • chroniclewhich lasts for several years, and can cause permanent damage and make the treatment more complex.

It is important that the person consults a doctor so that the diagnosis can be made, the cause identified and the appropriate treatment initiated, which may be through the use of medication or surgery.

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis

The main symptoms of acute pancreatitis are:

  • Constant and intense pain in the upper part of the abdomen, which can radiate to the ribs, and which persists with the step of the time and after the meals. It usually appears at the level of the mouth of the stomach and radiates from the sides and back, in the form of a belt;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Inflammation and sensitivity in the abdomen;
  • Fever;
  • Increase in heart barks.

These symptoms appear suddenly, making it necessary to go to the nearest hospital emergency immediately, as the illness when it is properly treated can be cured. However, acute pancreatitis can quickly worsen and cause bleeding or serious problems in the kidneys, lungs and heart, increasing the risk of death.

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis

The main symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are:

  • Constant or intermittent abdominal pain, with periods without pain. Food intake can increase pain causing fear of eating;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Weight loss with no apparent cause;
  • fatigue;
  • Digestion mala, which causes it to be yellowish and malolent in color and which floats in the odorless state. This condition is called steatorrhea.

These symptoms are caused because there is a malabsorption of the fats mainly and of the foods in general, which are not completely absorbed in the intestine, causing a malnutrition by deficit in the individual.

Chronic pancreatitis does not heal and worsens over time, causing lesions in the pancreas that make it difficult to function properly.

How is the diagnosis performed?

The doctor may recommend imaging tests such as a computerized tomography, a magnetic resonance imaging or an abdominal ultrasound; as a laboratory analysis to detect elevated levels of pancreatic enzymes amylase and lipase in blood.

In addition, in the case of chronic pancreatitis, the doctor may request an analysis of heces to quantify the levels of fat.

What can cause pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis arises when the digestive enzymes that are inside the pancreas are activated before reaching the intestine, irritating the walls of the organ, causing inflammation of the same. Although it can occur in healthy people, pancreatitis is more frequent in some cases, such as:

  • Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages;
  • smoking;
  • Piedra in the gallbladder;
  • Postoperative of abdominal surgery;
  • Abdominal trauma;
  • Cystic fibrosis;
  • Hypertriglyceridemia;
  • Divided pancreas;
  • Oddi’s sphincter dysfunction;
  • The use of some drugs such as tetracycline, valproic acid, HIV drugs, azathioprine, estrogens, 6-mercaptopurine;
  • High levels of calcium in blood;
  • Cancer in the pancreas.

In addition, people who have a family history of pancreatitis also have a greater chance of developing this disease at some point in their lives. Other more rare diseases, especially those that directly affect the pancreas such as the pancreas divisum, can also be a possible cause of pancreatitis.

How is the treatment performed?

The treatment of pancreatitis is carried out in the hospital with the use of analgesic drugs to reduce pain, antibiotics and the oral intake of pancreatic enzymes.

In the acute form of the disease, the individual remains for 24 to 48 hours without ingesting food orally so as not to strain the pancreas and allow the organ to deflate. Depending on the severity, it is possible for the doctor to indicate the placement of a probe that goes from the mouth to the intestine that allows feeding with nutritional supplements, starting with oral feeding.

In the case of chronic pancreatitis, the individual must follow a diet low in fat and sugars, in addition to ingesting digestive enzymes to help digest food and allow it to be absorbed by the intestine.

Find out more about treatment and how the diet should be during pancreatitis.

Verified by RJ9823 – Public Utility – cc2.0

Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

Content for educational purposes only

The translator user relied on the following text:

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Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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