Pancreatitis Essay

1422 WordsJul 28, 20136 Pages
The pancreas is a large gland located behind the stomach and next to the duodenum . The pancreas has two primary functions: To secrete powerful digestive enzymes into the small intestine to aid the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat; To release the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones are involved in blood glucose metabolism, regulating how the body stores and uses food for energy . Pancreatitis is a rare disease in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. Pancreatic damage occurs when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are secreted into the duodenum and begin attacking the pancreas. In very severe cases, pancreatitis can result in bleeding into the gland, serious tissue damage, infection, and cyst formation. Severe pancreatitis can also cause damage if enzymes and toxins are released into the bloodstream, which can harm other vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Pancreatitis develops gradually and tends to become progressively worse. There are two forms of pancreatitis: acute and chronic The acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly and may be a severe, life-threatening illness with many complications. Usually, the patient recovers completely. If injury to the pancreas continues, such as when a patient persists in drinking alcohol, a chronic form of the disease may develop, bringing severe pain and reduced functioning of the pancreas that affects digestion and causes weight loss. Some patients have more than one attack but recover fully after each one. Most cases of acute pancreatitis are caused either by alcohol abuse or by gallstones. Other causes may be use of prescribed drugs, trauma or surgery to the abdomen, or abnormalities of the pancreas or intestine. In rare cases, the disease may result from infections, such as mumps. In about 15 percent of cases, the cause is

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