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How to Recognize Pancreatic Problems

News

16.02.2022

The function of the pancreas, which is located behind the stomach, is the production of enzymes and various chemicals to facilitate digestion. The pancreas is also involved in the synthesis of insulin.

There are people who can lead a relatively normal lifestyle without a pancreas, but due to the lack of a natural hormone for the production of enzymes, they must undergo continuous treatment.

In order to avoid pancreatitis, we must take daily care of the pancreas.

What can cause pancreatitis?

Since the pancreas has a crucial role in the processing of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, any complication can lead to a purulent infection, damage to other organs, and an increased risk of cancer.

The immediate cause of pancreatitis is a disturbance in the secretion of enzymes and pancreatic juice that are produced by the gland.

Among the most common reasons are:

  • Unhealthy lifestyle – overeating, alcohol abuse, etc.;
  • Uncontrolled intake of various medications;
  • Consumption of foods with many pesticides or food additives;
  • Sustained trauma to the digestive organs;
  • Diseases of the stomach and bile, cardiovascular conditions, infectious diseases, allergies, etc.;
  • Surgical interventions of the digestive system;
  • Genetic abnormalities;
  • Weak immune system.

According to statistics, people most at risk of pancreatitis are those who abuse alcohol, patients with various complications of gallstones, overweight, and more.

What are the most common symptoms of pancreatic problems?

At the onset of acute pancreatitis, the symptoms are very painful and usually the person experiencing them does not hesitate to seek medical help.

Acute pain

It may be sudden or gradually increasing, but at some point the discomfort could lead to other symptoms. The severe abdominal pain can spread to the back, shoulders, and be accompanied by nausea. It can be more acute after eating and when lying on one’s back because the inflamed pancreas is pressed by the stomach.

Nausea and vomiting

The symptoms usually appear after eating because the pancreas starts a process of synthesis of enzymes to digest food but inflammation blocks it. These are early manifestations of pancreatitis, and they can be confused with the most common digestive problems. If the discomfort persists for a long time, it is necessary to seek medical help.

Fatigue and daily headaches

When the pancreas is inflamed, the immune system is weakened, so symptoms such as headaches and fatigue should not be ignored. Although not very severe, headaches can be daily, constant, and cause dizziness and dry mouth. Fatigue is common, affecting the whole body because digestion is difficult, the intake of nutrients and vitamins is reduced, and the immune system is weakened. The risk of infection or disease is higher.

Diarrhea

It is one of the three signs of chronic pancreatitis, along with pain and diabetes. Diarrhea occurs quite late, when about 90% of the parenchyma of the pancreas is displaced by fibrous tissue. This is due to the inability of the pancreas to release enough enzymes needed to break down fats and proteins in food, especially fats.

Diabetes

The onset of diabetes is provoked by endocrine pancreatic insufficiency and the destruction of the islets of Langerhans, which are responsible for insulin synthesis. This condition is observed from 5 to 10 years after the initial stage of the disease.

Weight loss

At the beginning, weight loss is the result of avoiding food because pain increases after eating. At a later stage, it is due to impaired digestion and poor absorption of nutrients.

Other symptoms may include a bitter taste in the mouth, heaviness after eating, jaundice, and more. The first alarming signs are severe pain in the left hypochondrium and vomiting along with bile, followed by dry mouth and throat, nausea, hiccups. If complications occur, inflammation of the gland and pancreatic necrosis can occur.

Early diagnosis will allow for more effective treatment, but it is best to follow the tips for pancreatitis prevention.

What can prevention include?

Proper daily care is needed to avoid pancreatitis or other pancreatic problems. It includes the following expert advice:

  • quitting cigarettes and alcohol;
  • more frequent intake of small portions and avoiding overeating;
  • opting for products high in vitamins, fiber, and minerals;
  • exercise and physical activities;
  • limiting coffee to one per day;
  • maintaining a balanced weight.

If you protect your pancreas, the risk of pancreatitis and other health problems will be minimal. Appropriate changes in your lifestyle can prevent them from occurring in the future.

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