Factors such as specific diseases, surgeries, and bad habits can alter the functioning of the pancreas, causing it to secrete enzymes into the organ instead of into the duodenum and causing the destruction of the pancreatic tissue itself, which can be understood as a “self-digestion.” This condition is called acute pancreatitis, and it causes inflammation, bleeding, and damage to the pancreas and its blood vessels. The pancreas produces a series of chemicals, specifical hormones such as insulin and others that participate in the digestive process, helping to digest food when it reaches the small intestine. At FastlyHealwe explain the causes, symptoms and treatment of acute pancreatitis.
Causes of acute pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas caused by obstruction of the bile ducts. Here are the leading causes of this problem:
- In most cases, between 60 and 80% of them, it is caused by excessive alcohol consumption or a gallstone. In the latter, stones exit through the bile duct, ending in the duodenal papilla, just as the pancreas does. These stones usually come from the gallbladder or bile duct and can cause an obstruction, causing secretion “into” the pancreas and causing inflammation.
- The rest of the cases are included in other causes ranging from autoimmune problems, hyperparathyroidism, and hypercalcemia, to damages derived from abdominal and thoracic surgeries, high levels of fat in the blood, and injury to the pancreas, an accident, or the consumption of certain medicines.
Symptoms of acute pancreatitis
The main symptom of this condition is intense and constant abdominal pain in the upper or middle part of the abdomen that usually radiates to the back and shoulders; it is more intense when lying on the back and maybe worse for a while after eating or drinking and lasts several days. Other symptoms that may appear, especially in more severe cases, are:
- Fever, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.
- Abdominal distension.
- Decrease in blood pressure.
- Respiratory, kidney, or heart failure.
- Mental disorders
In milder cases, abdominal pain may be moderate and appear, along with other symptoms, progressively over days or weeks.
Treatment of acute pancreatitis
It will be necessary to hospitalize the patient with acute pancreatitis since it is essential to monitor the evolution of the condition. The treatment is based mainly on administering intravenous fluids and cessation of oral intake of food or liquid to allow the pancreas to rest. Abdominal pain is relieved by analgesics, and nasogastric suctioning may also be used to control nausea or vomiting.
If stones in the bile duct cause acute pancreatitis, endoscopic removal of the rocks causing the obstruction will likely be performed. In some cases, it is also decided to drain the fluid accumulated in or around the pancreas to avoid further infections.
Usually, patients improve rapidly, but about 25% of them have serious complications that can be fatal. It is essential to highlight the importance of preventing this condition; Controlling your alcohol consumption and choosing a low-fat diet will lower your chances of pancreatitis and gallstones.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Acute pancreatitis: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Endocrine System category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.