What is this condition?
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that can start with a stomachache and progress to swelling and tissue damage or bleeding. In men, this disease is commonly linked to alcoholism. In women, it's linked to bile tract disease. The chance of recovery is good when it follows bile tube disease, bur poor with alcoholism. The death rate is as high as 60% when the pancreas is damaged and bleeding.
What causes it?
Beside the common causes, pancreatitis can also be caused by pancreatic cancer, injury, peptic ulcers, or certain drugs. Some people gel pancreatitis as a complication of mumps or exposure to freezing temperatures. A combination of diabetes and pancreatic insufficiency and calcification occurs in young persons, probably from malnutrition and alcoholism, leading to pancreatic damage. Regardless of the cause, in pancreatitis, the organ harms itself - enzymes normally excreted by the pancreas digest the pancreatic tissue instead.
What are its symptoms?
In many people, the first and only symptom of mild pancreatitis is steady stomach pain centered close to the navel and radiating out. Though it may feel like flu, vomiting doesn't help.
A severe attack of pancreatitis causes extreme pain, persistent vomiting, abdominal rigidity, diminished bowel activity (suggesting peritonitis), and the doctor can hear crackles in the person's lungs. In addition, the person feels extreme discomfort and restlessness, with mottled skin; irregular heartbeat; a low-grade fever; and cold, sweaty arms and legs. In the worst case, pancreatitis causes massive bleeding that leads to shock or coma.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor will ask about symptoms and diet, especially alcohol consumption, and examine the person. However, blood tests and analysis of urine and other fluids is necessary to distinguish pancreatitis from other disorders, such as a perforated peptic ulcer, appendicitis and bowel obstruction. The doctor may use an electrocardiogram to spot chemical imbalances caused by pancreatitis, X-rays to see calcification of the pancreas or changes in the lungs, tests to measure pressure in the stomach, or ultrasonography to see how far damage to the pancreas has gone.
How is it treated?
The doctor will work to maintain the person's circulation and fluid volume. Treatment measures must also relieve pain and decrease pancreatic secretions. If the pancreatic attack is an emergency, the doctor will use intravenous replacement of electrolytes and proteins to treat the person in shock. Drug treatment may include MS contin for pain, Valium for restlessness and agitation, and antibiotics for bacterial infection.
After the emergency phase, the person may still need intravenous therapy for 5 to 7 days. If the person is not ready to eat by then, a feeding tube may be necessary. In extreme cases, the person may need surgery to drain the pancreas or to remove part of the organ. For long-term recovery, the doctor will recommend changes in diet and alcohol consumption.
HOME | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | RESOURCES
Copyright © 2006-2010 Health-Care-Tips.org. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: The services and information provided here are for information purposes. These information are not intended to act as a substitute for a professional healthcare practitioner advise. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, please consult your doctor.
Only personal contact with the qualified healthcare practitioner of your choice - who knows your health history, who can examine you, and who can bring expertise and experience to bear on your situation -- can yield advice about how you ought to handle any of the information you obtain from sources accessed through this service.