The main role of the pancreas is to keep blood sugar levels within healthy limits by secreting a hormone called insulin. It is a large organ located at the back of the stomach. If the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin, or if tissues and organs cannot properly use the secreted insulin (this is called insulin resistance), diabetes develops.
There are many different pancreas diseases. Acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, hereditary pancreatitis and pancreas cancers are among these diseases.
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden seizure causing the inflammation of the pancreas and usually causes severe pain in the upper abdominal area. Pain may be too severe or last for days. Some of other symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling and fever. The most common reason is gall Stones. Some of the other reasons are chronic alcohol consumption, genetic problems, trauma, drugs, infections, electrolyte anomalies, high fat levels and hormonal anomalies. Treatment is usually in supporting the feature. Most patients completely recover.
Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive disease associated with the destruction of the pancreas. It is more common in men and usually seen in people aged 30-40 years. Symptoms are similar to acute pancreatitis. The most common symptoms are the pain in the upper abdominal region and diarrhea. While the disease becomes chronic, nutritional deficiencies and weight loss can be seen in patients. If the destruction of the pancreas occurs, patients may experience diabetes.
Treatment is associated with symptoms. Most of the treatments focus on controlling pain and nutrition support. It is very important to avoid alcohol consumption.
In some cases, pancreatitis is associated with genetic anomalies of pancreas and intestines. Acute and repetitive pancreatitis seizures seen before the age of 20s turn into chronic pancreatitis over time. The most common reason causing chronic pancreatitis is cystic fibrosis. Treatment is focused on controlling the pain and replacement of the pancreas enzyme.
Pancreas Cancer (Whipple)
This cancer proceeds silently and does not cause any symptoms at first. The classic symptoms are painless hepatitis. If it is detected in the early stages, treatment is possible with surgery. In later stages, treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and complications.