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The pancreas secretes about 1500-3000ml of fluid per day which contains about 20 enzymes. These secretions provide the enzymes necessary to influence the main digestive activities of the digestive tract. If the pancreas is attacked as in pancreatitis enough of this enzyme will not be stressed and there will be problems with digestion and metabolism of food.

Here are ten things you may not know about pancreatitis:

Pancreatitis (inflammatory disease of the pancreas) can be classified as acute (sudden onset type) or chronic (gradual onset type).

The two most common causes of pancreatitis are excess alcohol intake and gallstones (stones in the gallbladder).

Any severe acute pain in the stomach or back might suggest acute pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can mimic heart burns, heart attacks, pneumonia, perforated intestines, intestinal obstruction and diabetic ketoacidosis (complications of diabetes mellitus).

Chronic pancreatitis can lead to poor absorption of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) leading to vitamin B12 deficiency.

Probably the most common and troublesome complication of chronic pancreatitis is narcotic addiction because sufferers may need opioids to control the severe abdominal pain associated with pancreatitis.

· The incidence of pancreatic cancer is increased by chronic pancreatitis.

Inherited pancreatitis (called hereditary pancreatitis) is similar to chronic pancreatitis except that it occurs at an early age. These young sufferers have repeated bouts of severe abdominal pain that can last from a few days to several weeks.

· In some parts of the world severe malnutrition is a common cause of pancreatitis.

· Removal of the gallbladder is almost always performed in patients after the first and second attacks of gallstone-related pancreatitis.