Pancreas is a organ which has both exocrine and endocrine functions. It is mainly a source of producing insulin in the body. It also produces enzymes which are required for fat metabolism.
Pancreas is divided into three parts as below:
Pathology: The enzymes which are secreted by the pancreas which should normally enter the intestine and act there, will start acting within the pancreas which is a kind of auto digestion, so the enzymes will destroy their own pancreatic cells.
Usually insulin producing cells are largely present in the tail of the pancreas. When all the 3 parts are affected, then the patient may get affected with diabetes mellitus.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas.
Symptoms of pancreatitis are:
- Severe pain in the upper abdomen which can radiate to the back.
- Sometimes Steatorrhea i.e. passing bulky frothy stools
Causes of pancreatitis include the following:
- Gall stones is the most common cause of pancreatitis. (Gall stone induced pancreatitis, patient will have symptoms of cholelitiasis i.e. pain in the abdomen and when the stone goes and blocks the pancreatic duct that is when the pancreatitis occurs )
- Alcohol induced pancreatitis
- Rare causes are viral pancreatitis, Drug induced pancreatitis, Scorpion bite can also cause pancreatitis.
- Tropical pancreatitis is usually seen in Kerala which is due to the related food intake in these areas.
Diagnosis include blood tests, MRI of abdomen and CT abdomen.
Pancreatitis can be classified as Acute and Chronic.
Acute is sudden onset of pain in the abdomen. In Acute pancreatitis, if it is in severe stage and untreated it may lead to the total destruction of the pancreas. If not attended it may form a cyst which would need a surgical intervention.
Chronic pancreatitis is repeated attacks of acute pancreatitis which is occurring for a period of 1 year or more. Patient will experience weight loss, decreased fat metabolism, recurrent attacks of pain in the abdomen. These patients are more prone to complications like diabetes.