The pancreas is a gland organ located behind the stomach and is vital to the digestive tract and overall health of the body. The functions of the pancreas include releasing digestive enzymes and producing insulin and glucagon to regulate blood sugar. The pancreas can become diseased due to various things including diet and alcohol consumption. When the pancreas becomes diseased or infected, it can lead to serious conditions which must be treated by a GI doctor or endocrinologist.
- Pancreatitis: It is the inflammation of the pancreas and is a very common disease of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is a condition where the enzymes are actually breaking down the pancreas, instead of food, and the pancreas becomes inflamed. The common types of pancreatitis are chronic and acute pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis is a long-lasting condition that has to be managed over time. Acute pancreatitis comes on quickly and can be treated with antibiotics. A common cause of acute pancreatitis is a gallstone block, also known as gallstone pancreatitis. The symptoms often include nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked with both chronic and acute pancreatitis and it is important to avoid alcohol.
- Gallstone pancreatitis: Gallstone pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas due to gallstones blocking the bile duct. The symptoms are very similar to those of gallstones – nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. It is very important to see a doctor if you think you might have gallstone pancreatitis.
Pancreatic diseases are serious medical conditions which must be managed under the care of a physician. If you or someone you know has a history of gallstones or pancreatitis, please contact us to set up an appointment.