The inflammation of the pancreas gland is known as Pancreatitis. This condition has several causes that include excessive consumption of alcohol, autoimmune conditions, gallstones, pseudocysts or hereditary causes. Pancreatitis may manifest over a short period of time or it may keep recurring leading to chronic Pancreatitis.
The pancreas is responsible for the secretion of enzymes that help in digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in the small intestine. When one is suffering from Pancreatitis, the duct transporting the enzymes gets blocked causing the enzymes to become active within the pancreas. The result is a situation where the pancreas begins to digest itself and may get infected.
Some of the common symptoms of pancreatitis include abdominal pain, swollen abdomen, rapid pulse, vomiting, nausea, low blood pressure and dehydration. Diagnosis of pancreatitis is normally done through a blood test. A positive diagnosis normally reveals high levels of digestive enzymes amylase and lipase. To find out if a patient has inflammation, gallstones or pseudocysts, a CAT scan or Ultrasound is usually required.
In some instances, pancreatitis may simply heal itself, however, in most cases a doctor will have to administer oxygen, intravenous fluids and prescribe antibiotics, pain relievers and pancreatic enzymes.
In severer cases surgery may be required to remove sections of the pancreas that are severely damaged or to drain the duct.
It is advisable for people diagnosed with pancreatitis to refrain from alcohol consumption and maintain a healthy diet.