chronic_pancreatitis

Chronic Pancreatitis is an Inflammation of the Pancreas that has been present for a long duration of time.

In many cases it is different than Acute Pancreatitis.

However, in some cases, a patient with a previous injury to the Pancreas can have reoccurring Acute pancrease pains and attacks because of the chronic condition.

Fibrosis and destruction of pancreas tissue results in decreased or abnormal function of the pancreas and surround tissues can be seen.

Some patients can look very sickly, while others don’t.

There is a considerable concern for malabsorption due to lack of proper function of the pancreas.

Symptoms can be worse with meals containing large amount of fats and protein.

This condition is seen more often in Men than Women.

 

Symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Steatorrhea – difficulty with absorption of fat from diet – causes changes in bowel movement
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of weight
  • Fatigue

UCSF043_PancreasAnatomy_565x546Causes:

  • Unknown
  • Chronic medication use  [Steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs]
  • Chronic Alcohol abuse
  • Dysfunction of Sphincter of Oddi
  • Trauma
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Malnutrition

Diagnosis

  • CT and X-ray may show calcifications on or in the pancreas.
  • Enzymes produced in pancreas (Amylase and Lipase) can “leak” during both chronic and acute pancreatitis.
  • But…..Lipase and Amylase are not always elevated in cases of acute or chronic pancreatitis
  • Secretin stimulation test is often very important for diagnosis.

 

Treatment:

1.)  Pain medication

2.)  Stop eating

3.)  Surgery

4.)  ERCP  –  (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)

5.)  Pancreatic enzyme replacement with supplements

6.)  Insulin in some cases where production has been compromised due to complication

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