The pancreas may be a small organ in the human body, but it plays a large role in the digestive system and is pivotal to a person’s overall health. Residents of San Bernardino County should understand the importance of keeping the pancreas healthy, as well as be aware of the realities of pancreatitis. Defined as inflammation of the pancreas, this condition can cause uncomfortable symptoms for the patient. If left untreated, pancreatitis can leave the patient dealing with severe complications and can even become life threatening.
What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is a condition that can develop in the pancreas that causes the organ to become inflamed. The pancreas is responsible for producing enzymes that aid in the digestive system, and when a person develops pancreatitis these enzymes begin to digest the actual organ. Symptoms of pancreatitis include fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Patients also will experience a significant amount of pain when this condition develops.
About 200,000 people in the United States develop this condition each year. There are two types of pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis develops suddenly, and is treated with dietary changes, antibiotics, fluid, and pain medications. It typically subsides in a couple of days. Chronic pancreatitis is a condition in which the inflammation persists and gets worse as time goes on. This type of pancreatitis can damage the organ significantly.
What are the Complications Associated with Pancreatitis?
Many people who suffer from pancreatitis will find that they begin to lose weight. This is because the enzymes produced by the pancreas are digesting the organ rather than the food that the person is consuming. This can result in significant and serious nutritional deficiencies, so it’s essential that pancreatitis is addressed quickly. This condition also can damage the organ and lead to larger complications for the patient.
What Causes Pancreatitis?
There are two main causes of pancreatitis. The largest cause of pancreatitis is gallstones. A gallstone that leaves the gallbladder and travels into the pancreas may trigger the onset of acute pancreatitis. People who drink excessively may find that they will suffer from acute pancreatitis as well. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to acute pancreatitis within several hours, but it also can take up to two days for the condition to set in.
Montclair residents who are showing the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis should make an appointment with a general surgeon as soon as possible. A general surgery expert can diagnose the patient and provide them with more information about this serious condition. It is important to see a doctor as soon as symptoms appear, because this can give the patient the best chance to alter their lifestyle and reduce the complications associated with this condition.