Useful Information About Acute Pancreatitis

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Useful Information About Acute Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is a very painful and serious health condition. If left untreated it can be potentially fatal. Therefore if you care about your health and that of your loved ones it is important to have a basic knowledge of the signs, symptoms and causes of acute pancreatitis.

What Happens

One of the functions of the pancreas is to secrete pancreatic juice through the pancreatic duct into the small intestine. This pancreatic juice if full of digestive enzymes which, when mixed with bile in the small intestine, digest and break down the food we eat so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and provide the cells of the body with the energy they require to function. If an individual develops acute pancreatitis the digestive enzymes do not pass through the pancreatic duct and mix with bile in the small intestine. Instead they attack the pancreas, which is the organ that produces them.

Causes

Acute pancreatitis has numerous possible causes. It can be caused by trauma or injury to the pancreas, surgery, gallstones, an obstruction to the pancreatic duct, viral infections, and certain medications. This condition can also be caused by years of heavy alcohol use. If you drink excessive amounts of alcohol or consume a high fat diet you put yourself at greater risk of developing acute pancreatitis.

Symptoms

People who are suffering from acute pancreatitis will experience an assortment of very unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms include heavy pain in the abdominal region, a swollen stomach area, severe vomiting, nausea, fever, a rapid pulse rate, dehydration and dangerously low blood pressure. If acute pancreatitis is not treated promptly it can lead to heart, kidney or lung failure, all of which are potentially fatal.

Treatment

Fortunately acute pancreatitis is usually fairly easy to treat if the patient is diagnosed and hospitalized in time. First the patient will be given a blood test in order to verify the diagnosis. The patient will then be hospitalized and given intravenous fluids, antibiotics and narcotic pain relief. Until the pancreas has recovered sufficiently the patient will not be given anything to eat or drink, which is why the IV fluids are necessary.

If gallstones were the cause of the acute pancreatitis the patient will require surgery to remove the stones. If the condition was caused by alcoholism the patient will be given counseling and advised to enroll on a detoxification and rehabilitation program in order to help them to stop drinking.

If you have reason to believe that you or somebody you love many be suffering from acute pancreatitis a prompt visit to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital is imperative.

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Useful Information About Acute Pancreatitis

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This article was published on 2010/12/07