Chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas) (Disease)


Chronic pancreatitis is a long-standing inflammation of the pancreas that alters its normal structure and functions. It does not heal or improve, gets worse over time, and leads to permanent damage. The pancreas is a long, flat gland that sits tucked behind the stomach in the upper abdomen, which produces enzymes that help digestion and hormones that help regulate the way body processes glucose.

Patients with chronic pancreatitis usually present with persistent abdominal pain or steatorrhea (oily, fatty stools) resulting from malabsorption of the fats in food. Other symptoms are indigestion and losing weight without trying.

Causes and Risk factors

Chronic pancreatitis is most often caused by alcohol abuse over many years. Other conditions that can lead to chronic pancreatitis are: autoimmune problems; blockage of the pancreatic duct or the common bile duct; complications of cystic fibrosis; high levels of a fat called triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia); hyperparathyroidism; use of certain medications, especially estrogens, corticosteroids, thiazide diuretics, and azathioprine.

Damage to the portions of the pancreas that make insulin may lead to diabetes. Other complications that can occur are: breathing problems, infections, Kidney failure, malnutrition, pancreatic cancer and Pseudocyct.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Tests and procedures used to diagnose pancreatitis include: blood tests, stool tests, pancreatic functions, Computer Tomography (CT), ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and biopsy pf the pancreas.

Treatment for pancreatitis usually requires hospitalization. The different treatment modalities for management of chronic pancreatitis are medical measures, therapeutic endoscopy and surgery. Diet consisted in small and frequent meals, limiting caffeine, alcohol abstinence and also medication are recommended. ...

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