What is pancreatitis: symptoms, causes and treatment

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Earlier this week, Travis Barker, longtime Blink-182 drummer and husband of Kourtney Kardashian, was carried from his Los Angeles mansion on a stretcher to a local hospital after being diagnosed with pancreatitis. Barker’s pancreas became inflamed after a colonoscopy procedure.

musician health risk made many think about what pancreatitis is and how to treat it. According to the Mayo Clinic, pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas, a flat gland behind the stomach in the upper abdomen, becomes inflamed. The pancreas is vital for the body to process sugar through digestion and hormones. The pancreas becomes inflamed when these digestive fluids attack the organ instead of regulating blood sugar levels.

Acute pancreatitis is a mild form of the condition that comes on suddenly and only for a short time. However, chronic pancreatitis lasts a long time and can lead to death without proper medical attention. Chronic can appear randomly over many years, causing severe discomfort to the body.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms in people vary depending on the type of pancreatitis. The acute form causes pain in the upper abdomen, abdominal pain all over the back, tenderness to the abdomen, fever, increased heart rate, nausea, and vomiting.

It is important to consult your doctor about the best treatment after you have been diagnosed with pancreatitis.

It is important to consult your doctor about the best treatment after you have been diagnosed with pancreatitis.
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However, chronic pancreatitis is more life-threatening and can cause more serious damage to the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen, abdominal pain that worsens after digestion, unexplained weight loss, and oily, smelly stools. People are advised to make an appointment with a doctor for acute or chronic abdominal pain and seek immediate help if the pain caused by pancreatitis makes it impossible to sit or stand still.

What are the reasons?

When digestive enzymes are triggered, pancreatitis occurs due to irritation of the cells of the pancreas, causing inflammation of the organ. Some habits and conditions that cause pancreatitis include alcoholism, abdominal trauma, obesity, high blood triglycerides, and gallstones. In addition, untreated acute pancreatitis can become chronic and lead to digestive problems and diabetes.

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause pancreatitis.

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause pancreatitis.
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Other factors, such as a family history of pancreatitis, excessive smoking, and alcohol use, may increase an individual’s risk of pancreatitis.

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How do you feel about it?

Depending on the individual’s condition, healthcare providers will in some cases treat the underlying cause of pancreatitis differently. However, some early treatments include reducing your daily diet to allow your body to recover. Doctors may also prescribe pain medication for patients suffering from pancreatitis if the condition is severe. If the person is hospitalized, intravenous (IV) fluids will be given through a vein in the arm to avoid dehydration until the pancreas recovers.

Seek immediate medical attention if the pain becomes severe.

Seek immediate medical attention if the pain becomes severe.
(iStock)

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