Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis, the inflammatory disorder of the pancreas, is characterised by abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, steatorrhea and weight loss.

What is 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 has an endocrine function because it releases juices directly into the bloodstream, and it has an exocrine function because it releases juices into ducts.

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.

Causes of Chronic Pancreatitis​

There are many theories towards the cause of CP. The use of Alcohol is attributed as the main causing factor. Besides, genetic, mutation, malnutrition factors, Oxidant stress and trace element deficiency are known to be factors that might also cause CP. Besides, there are 20% cases of idiopathic CP among all type of CP patients. 

Episodes of abdominal pain and diarrhea lasting several days come and go over time and can progress to chronic pancreatitis. A diagnosis of hereditary pancreatitis is likely if the person has two or more family members with pancreatitis in more than one generation.

Symptoms Of Chronic Pancreatitis​

* Pain – the patient may feel pain in the upper abdomen. The pain may sometimes be severe and can travel along the back. It is usually more intense after eating. Some pain relief may be gained by leaning forward or curling into a ball. 
* Nausea and vomiting – more commonly experienced during episodes of pain. 
* Constant pain – As the disease progresses the episodes of pain become more frequent and severe. Some patients eventually suffer constant abdominal pain. 
* As chronic pancreatitis progresses, and the pancreas’ ability to produce digestive juices deteriorates, the following symptoms will appear: 
    – Smelly and greasy faeces (stools) 
    – Bloating 
    – Abdominal cramps 
    – Flatulence

Episodes of abdominal pain and diarrhea lasting several days come and go over time and can progress to chronic pancreatitis. A diagnosis of hereditary pancreatitis is likely if the person has two or more family members with pancreatitis in more than one generation.

Diagnosis of Chronic Pancreatitis​

The diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis is typically based on tests on pancreatic structure and function, as direct biopsy of the pancreas is considered excessively risky. Serum amylase and lipase may or may not be moderately elevated in cases of chronic pancreatitis. Chronic Pancreatitis can be diagnosed by a gastroenterologist by assessing clinical, pathological and radiological status of the patient. That includes :

Pathological​

Leukocyte Count​

ESR

Serum Amylase/Lipase​

Alkaline Phosphate​

Serum Bilirubin​​

 

Radiological​

Ultrasonography​

CT Scan​

ERCP

MRCP

Conventional treatment

Acute attacks of Pancreatitis are managed by pain killers, IV fluids, Multivitamins, Minerals and complete rest. ERCP and surgery might be recommended if blockage is found. CP patients are also prescribed pancreatic enzymes with each meal to help in the digestion.

Ayurvedic treatment

Ayurvedic treatment for Pancreatitis includes Ayurvedic formulations with a regulated diet and lifestyle. It is a one year long treatment with initial three weeks in-house stay.   Details can be found at (Information brochure)

Complications

The disease not only brings down the quality of life among patients but also causes substantial emotional and financial burden. Recurrent episodes of pancreatitis bring gradual fibrotic changes in the pancreas resulting in loss of exocrine and endocrine functions, leading to diabetes mellitus, steatorrhoea and unexplained weight loss. Recurrent episodes of pancreatitis bring gradual fibrotic changes in the pancreas resulting in loss of exocrine and endocrine functions, leading to diabetes mellitus, steatorrhoea and unexplained weight loss. Patients of pancreatitis are also at a higher risk of developing Pancreatic Cancer.

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