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How Do I Know If I Have Problems With My Pancreas?

5 Warning Signs Your Pancreas Is In Trouble

5 Warning Signs Your Pancreas Is In Trouble

5 Warning Signs Your Pancreas Is In Trouble The symptoms can be tricky to spot - but important to recognise Quick, say the first thing that pops into your head when you read the word pancreas. Most people only think about their pancreas when they hear about pancreatic cancer - which is the deadliest form of cancer in terms of 5-year survival rates. Part of the reason survival rates are so low is that identifying pancreatic cancer early is difficult, says Dr Andrew Hendifar, co-director of pancreas oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Early detection is also tough when it comes to non-cancerous pancreas problems, says Dr Ted Epperly,president of Family Medicine Residency of Idaho. Tucked deep in your abdomen, your pancreas is a long, flat organ that produces enzymes and hormones that aid in digestion. While symptoms of pancreas issues can be finicky, both DrEpperly and DrHendifar say there are a handful of warning signs that warrant a call to your doctor. PANCREAS PROBLEM #1: YOUR POOP LOOKS FUNNY If you notice your stool is light coloured and floating, thats a sign of poor nutrient absorption. The enzymes your pancreas produces help you digest fats in your diet, DrHendifar explains. Along with breaking down fats, your pancreas helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K, he says. When pancreatic disease messes with your organs ability to properly manufacture those enzymes, your stool looks paler and becomes less dense. You may also notice your poop is oily or greasy. The toilet water will have a film that looks like oil, DrHendifar says. Thats the dietary fat your body failed to break down, he explains. If you notice your poop looks funky now and then, thats no reason to freak out. But if all or most of your poops have these characte Continue reading >>

Early Symptoms Of Pancreatic Disease

Early Symptoms Of Pancreatic Disease

I hold a Master's degree in exercise physiology/health promotion. I am a certified fitness specialist through the American College of Spots Medicine and an IYT certified yoga teacher. I have over 25 years experience teaching classes to both general public and those with chronic illness. The above allows me to write directly to the reader based on personal experiences. Pancreatic diseases affect thousands of people each year and pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Catching this disease early, especially when the cancer is still treatable, is essential. What Does the Pancreas Do, and Why Is It So Difficult to Examine? Wedged between the stomach and spine in the upper abdomen, the pancreas performs two essential job. It creates enzymes that break down food so it can be digested and it generates essential hormones such as insulin. Its embedded location makes it difficult for doctors to manually examine and feel the organ to determine if its swollen or inflamed. Blood tests can help, but they may also be misleading. The best way to assess the health of the pancreas include CAT (computed tomography) scans, endoscopic ultrasounds, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and even operating to view the organ. But first, patients and doctors have to know that something is wrong. What Can Go Wrong and What Are the Symptoms? There are a number of problems that can affect the pancreas, many of them cause enough pain and discomfort to be noticed quickly. -Acute pancreatitis is a sudden attack that causes severe abdominal pain, as well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and fever, according to The National Pancreas Foundation. This can be caused by gallstones, alcohol abuse, and other conditions and it usually goes away after treatment. Continue reading >>

Other Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer

Other Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages. This can make it hard to diagnose early. But as the cancer grows, it may start to cause symptoms. These will depend on the type of pancreatic cancer and where it is in the pancreas. The symptoms and how bad they are can vary for each person. It’s important to remember that symptoms described here can be caused by more common things, such as indigestion or heartburn. They can also be caused by conditions such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, or hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). These symptoms don’t necessarily mean that someone has pancreatic cancer. But if you have any symptoms that you’re worried about it’s important that you see your GP. What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer? The most common type of pancreatic cancer is called pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The information here is about the symptoms of PDAC. There are also rare types of pancreatic cancer called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs) of pancreatic cancer. They may cause some of the symptoms here, as well as some different symptoms. Read more about the symptoms of PNETs. The symptoms of PDAC can be quite vague and may come and go to begin with. Common symptoms include abdominal (tummy) and back pain, unexplained weight loss, and indigestion. Other symptoms include: changes to bowel habits – including steatorrhoea (pale, smelly stools (poo) that may float), diarrhoea (loose watery stools) or constipation (problems opening your bowels) jaundice (yellow skin and eyes, and itching) nausea and vomiting (feeling and being sick) You may find it helpful to have a look at our diagram of the pancreas and surrounding organs when reading the informa Continue reading >>

Pancreatitis Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Prevention, Tests

Pancreatitis Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Prevention, Tests

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas , an organ in your belly that makes the hormones insulin and glucagon . These two hormones control how your body uses the sugar found in the food you eat. Your pancreas also makes other hormones and enzymes that help you break down food. Usually the digestive enzymes stay in one part of the pancreas . But if these enzymes leak into other parts of the pancreas, they can irritate it and cause pain and swelling. This may happen suddenly or over many years. Over time, it can damage and scar the pancreas. Most cases are caused by gallstones or alcohol abuse . The disease can also be caused by an injury, an infection, or certain medicines. Long-term, or chronic, pancreatitis may occur after one attack. But it can also happen over many years. In Western countries, alcohol abuse is the most common cause of chronic cases. In some cases doctors don't know what caused the disease. The main symptom of pancreatitis is medium to severe pain in the upper belly. Pain may also spread to your back. Some people have other symptoms too, such as nausea , vomiting , a fever, and sweating . Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your symptoms and past health. You may also have blood tests to see if your levels of certain enzymes are higher than normal. This can mean that you have pancreatitis. Your doctor may also want you to have a complete blood count (CBC), a liver test, or a stool test. Other tests include an MRI , a CT scan , or an ultrasound of your belly ( abdominal ultrasound ) to look for gallstones . A test called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram , or ERCP, may help your doctor see if you have chronic pancreatitis. During this test, the doctor can also remove gallstones that are stuck in the bile duct Continue reading >>

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms & Signs

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms & Signs

Pancreatic cancer is often referred to as a “silent cancer” because it is thought that the early symptoms can be vague and unrecognised. Pancreatic cancer symptoms however can present themselves early in many cases. Here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for: Classic pancreatic cancer symptoms can include: Painless jaundice (yellow skin/eyes, dark urine, itching). Weight loss which is significant and unexplained Abdominal pain or discomfort which is new-onset and significant Other possible symptoms of pancreatic cancer: Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen which is new, that tends to radiate to the back. This is significant and can be persistent but also intermittent, this pain or discomfort can vary between patients. Back pain Diabetes which is new-onset and not associated with weight gain Vague indigestion (dyspepsia) or abdominal discomfort (not responding to prescribed medication) Loss of appetite Nausea and vomiting Pain when eating Steatorrhea (fatty stools that are often pale and smell foul) Not everyone will have all of these symptoms. For example, those who have a tumour in the body or tail of the pancreas are unlikely to have painless jaundice. All of these symptoms can have other causes, and there is not yet a reliable and easy test for pancreatic cancer. Explanation of the symptoms: Pain or discomfort in the abdomen and upper back Approximately 70 per cent of patients with pancreatic cancer go to the doctor initially due to pain. This pain is often described as beginning in the stomach area and radiating around to the upper back (just above where a woman’s bra strap would be). Generally the reason for the pain is because of the tumour pressing against your abdomen and spine. Jaundice 30% of patients will have yellowing of the skin and Continue reading >>

Pancreatitis Symptoms, Causes, Diet, And Treatment

Pancreatitis Symptoms, Causes, Diet, And Treatment

Facts about and Definition of Pancreatitis Pancreatitis simply means inflammation of the pancreas. There are two types of pancreatitis, acute and chronic. Causes of acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis are similar; about 80%-90% are caused by alcohol abuse and gallstones (about 35%-45% for each); while the remaining 10%-20% are caused by medications, chemical exposures, trauma, hereditary diseases, infections, surgical procedures, and high fat levels in the blood and genetic abnormalities with pancreas or intestine Symptoms of acute pancreatitis most commonly begins with abdominal pain in the middle or upper left part of the abdomen and abdominal pain may increase after eating or lying flat the back. Other symptoms may include Severe acute pancreatitis symptoms and signs may show skin discoloration around the belly button or the side of the body between the ribs and hip (flank), or small erythematous skin nodules. Necrotizing pancreatitis is a severe form of acute pancreatitis characterized by necrosis in and around the pancreas. Diagnosis of pancreatitis (both acute and chronic) is done similarly. Patient history will be taken, physical exam will be performed, and various tests may be ordered. Although acute pancreatitis should not be treated at home initially, there are steps that can help prevent or reduce symptoms. The major risk factors for pancreatitis are heavy alcohol consumption and a history of gallstones; they cause about 80%-90% of pancreatitis; other factors such as genetics and medications may increase an individual's risk. Treatment of acute pancreatitis is done according to the underlying cause. Most acute cases of pancreatitis are treated in the hospital or the goal is to relieve symptoms in support body functions so that the pancreas can recover Continue reading >>

Enlarged Pancreas: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

Enlarged Pancreas: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

Enlarged Pancreas: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments An enlarged pancreas can occur for many reasons. The pancreas is a gland that sits behind your stomach in the upper abdomen and helps with digestion. It produces enzymes that are secreted into the small intestine, digesting protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The pancreas also produces insulin to help regulate blood sugar (glucose), the body's main source of energy. An enlarged pancreas may mean nothing. You may simply have a pancreas that is larger than normal. Or, it can be because of an anatomic abnormality. But other causes of an enlarged pancreas may include the following: Pancreatitis occurs when digestive enzymes become active inside the pancreas, attacking and damaging its tissues. This can cause an enlarged pancreas. Acute pancreatitis is inflammation that occurs suddenly in the pancreas. It can be very serious, even life-threatening. But it usually goes away within a few days of treatment. Gallstones and alcohol are common causes of acute pancreatitis. Other causes include high levels of fats in the blood , certain drugs, certain medical procedures, and some infections. Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation that gets worse over time and leads to permanent damage in the pancreas. Heavy alcohol use is the most common cause. Other causes include heredity, cystic fibrosis , high levels of calcium or fats in the blood , certain medications , and some autoimmune conditions. Pancreatic pseudocyst is an accumulation of fluid and tissue debris in the pancreas, which can occur after a case of pancreatitis. Cystadenoma is a tumor that is usually benign. Abscess is a pus-filled cavity, usually caused by a bacterial infection . A pancreatic pseudocyst that becomes infected can become an abscess. Pancreatic cancer is an abnor Continue reading >>

Common Disorders Of The Pancreas

Common Disorders Of The Pancreas

There are a variety of disorders of the pancreas including acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, hereditary pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer. The evaluation of pancreatic diseases can be difficult due to the inaccessibility of the pancreas. There are multiple methods to evaluate the pancreas. Initial tests of the pancreas include a physical examination, which is difficult since the pancreas is deep in the abdomen near the spine. Blood tests are often helpful in determining whether the pancreas is involved in a specific symptom but may be misleading. The best radiographic tests to evaluate the structure of the pancreas include CAT (computed tomography) scan, endoscopic ultrasound, and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Tests to evaluate the pancreatic ducts include ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) and MRCP(magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography). There are also instances in which surgical exploration is the only way to confirm the diagnosis of pancreatic disease. Acute Pancreatitis Acute pancreatitis is a sudden attack causing inflammation of the pancreas and is usually associated with severe upper abdominal pain. The pain may be severe and last several days. Other symptoms of acute pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and fever. In the United States, the most common cause of acute pancreatitis is gallstones. Other causes include chronic alcohol consumption, hereditary conditions, trauma, medications, infections, electrolyte abnormalities, high lipid levels, hormonal abnormalities, or other unknown causes. The treatment is usually supportive with medications showing no benefit. Most patients with acute pancreatitis recover completely. For more information on acute pancreatitis, please visit here. Chronic Pancreatitis Continue reading >>

10 Early Warning Signs Your Pancreas Is Inflamed (and What Happens If You Ignore Them) : Family Life Goals

10 Early Warning Signs Your Pancreas Is Inflamed (and What Happens If You Ignore Them) : Family Life Goals

10 early warning signs your pancreas is INFLAMED (and what happens if you ignore them) Do you know what your pancreas is? Do you know what it does or where its located in your body? Because you should!It is one of your bodys most important glands and it can be very bad news for you if it becomes inflamed. The pancreasis a large gland located next to the small intestine behind the stomach. The pancreas releases strong digestive enzymes into your small intestine to aid in digestion. It also releases hormones like insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body control how it uses food for energy. Pancreatitisis a disease in where the pancreas becomes inflamed because its digestive enzymes are activated before they are released and they begin attacking the pancreas. What does that mean? It means that the digestive enzymes feel trapped and start digesting the pancreas. The condition can progress to swelling of the gland and surrounding blood vessels, bleeding, infection, and damage to the gland. If this damage persists, the gland may not be able to carry out normal functions. Pancreatitis may be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Either type can be very severe, and even life-threatening. Acute pancreatitis is a unexpected inflammation that lasts for a small period of time. It may range from mild discomfort to a severe, life-threatening illness. Most people with acute pancreatitis recover completely after getting the right treatment. Severe pancreatitis can also harm other vital organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. Acute pancreatitisusually begins relatively soon after the damage to the pancreas begins. The attacks are mostly mild but approximately 20% ring in as severe. Chronic pancreatitis is essentially a longer lasting inflammatio Continue reading >>

The Connection Between Diabetes And Your Pancreas

The Connection Between Diabetes And Your Pancreas

A direct connection exists between the pancreas and diabetes. The pancreas is an organ deep in your abdomen behind your stomach. It’s an important part of your digestive system. The pancreas produces enzymes and hormones that help you digest food. One of those hormones, insulin, is necessary to regulate glucose. Glucose refers to sugars in your body. Every cell in your body needs glucose for energy. Think of insulin as a lock to the cell. Insulin must open the cell to allow it to use glucose for energy. If your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t make good use of it, glucose builds up in your bloodstream, leaving your cells starved for energy. When glucose builds up in your bloodstream, this is known as hyperglycemia. The symptoms of hyperglycemia include thirst, nausea, and shortness of breath. Low glucose, known as hypoglycemia, also causes many symptoms, including shakiness, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can quickly become life-threatening. Each type of diabetes involves the pancreas not functioning properly. The way in which the pancreas doesn’t function properly differs depending on the type. No matter what type of diabetes you have, it requires ongoing monitoring of blood glucose levels so you can take the appropriate action. Type 1 diabetes In type 1 diabetes the immune system erroneously attacks the beta cells that produce insulin in your pancreas. It causes permanent damage, leaving your pancreas unable to produce insulin. Exactly what triggers the immune system to do that isn’t clear. Genetic and environmental factors may play a role. You’re more likely to develop type 1 diabetes if you have a family history of the disease. About 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. People who ha Continue reading >>

6 Symptoms Of Pancreas Problems

6 Symptoms Of Pancreas Problems

Home Curiosities 6 Symptoms of Pancreas Problems The pancreas is an indispensable organ for the body. Knowing the symptoms of poor pancreas functioning could help you on several occasions to foresee or prevent more serious problems. Pancreatitis alters a lot of digestive functions and is sometimes associated with bad dietary habits. Wewe will explain more below. The pancreas is situated behind the stomach and is in charge of producing enzymes, like insulin and glucagon, for example. They are necessary for digestion and arrive at the small intestine. From there they promote food synthesis . A change in this organ could produce fairly severe effects. These same enzymes can even turn against the pancreas and can end up attacking it. But lets take a closer look. How do I know if I have a problem with my pancreas? Pain appears in the upper area of the abdomen and behind the stomach. Remember that this discomfort appears only on the left side of the body, under the ribs, and feels like burning. This pain could be more clear just after eating or even after drinking. It is even more pronounced if you have eaten foods high in fat. This pain could begin the day after a meal, it could last for several days and could even increase in intensity. The pain is more intense when you lay face up. The pancreas feels squeezed and the pain is more acute. The pain radiates from behind the back or behind the left shoulder blade. The enzymes that attack the pancreas produce inflammation and consequently, having a fever is quite normal. When you feel pain or discomfort, do not forget to take your temperature. If your temperature is elevated by a few degrees, see your doctor. Your doctor is the only one who can rule out any problems and he/she can answer your questions. They symptoms can someti Continue reading >>

Help For Symptoms Of Pancreas Problems And Promoting Pancreas Health

Help For Symptoms Of Pancreas Problems And Promoting Pancreas Health

Select a Topic What is the Pancreas? The pancreas is a large organ approximately six inches long and is a key part of the digestive and endocrine systems. It is located deep within the upper abdomen, surrounded by the stomach, small intestine, liver and spleen. This organ is shaped like a pear, broad at one end and narrow at the other end. It is divided in three sections – the broad end of the pancreas is called the head, the midsection is called the body and the narrow end is called the tail. If pancreas health is compromised a number of serious disorders can occur within the body. Functions of the Pancreas The first function belongs to the exocrine pancreas. The pancreas produces digestive juices and enzymes to help digest fats and proteins. When food has been partially digested by the stomach, it is pushed into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Secreting its enzymes into the duodenum helps to prevent the protein-digesting enzyme known as trypsin from eating the protein-based pancreas or its duct. Pancreatic digestive juices and enzymes are released through a small duct attached to the duodenum to mix with the food. The exocrine pancreas also produces enzymes that break down carbohydrates (amylase) and fats (lipase) as well as sodium bicarbonate which helps to neutralize the stomach acids in food. The second function belongs to the endocrine pancreas. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin together with a variety of other hormones. Insulin helps to control the body’s blood sugar (glucose) levels. It is produced by small groups of pancreatic cells called the Islets of Langerhans, which are also known as the "islet cells" Insulin is secreted when your blood sugar is raised and it causes the muscles and other bodily tissues to take up glucose f Continue reading >>

5 Warning Signs Your Pancreas Is In Trouble

5 Warning Signs Your Pancreas Is In Trouble

Quick, say the first thing that pops into your head when you read the word "pancreas." If you said "cancer," you're not alone. Most people only think about their pancreas when they hear about pancreatic cancer—which is the deadliest form of cancer in terms of 5-year survival rates. "Part of the reason survival rates are so low is that identifying pancreatic cancer early is difficult," says Andrew Hendifar, MD, codirector of pancreas oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Early detection is also tough when it comes to non-cancer pancreas problems, says Ted Epperly, MD, president of Family Medicine Residency of Idaho. Tucked deep in your abdomen, your pancreas is a long, flat organ that produces enzymes and hormones that aid in digestion. While symptoms of pancreas issues can be persnickety, both Epperly and Hendifar say there are a handful of warning signs that warrant a call to your doctor. Here are 5 of them. (Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up to get healthy living tips delivered straight to your inbox!) If you notice your stool is light colored and floating, that's a sign of poor nutrient absorption. (Here are 7 things your poop says about your health.) "The enzymes your pancreas produces help you digest fats in your diet," Hendifar explains. Along with breaking down fats, your pancreas helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K, he says. When pancreatic disease messes with your organ's ability to properly manufacture those enzymes, the result is feces that looks paler and is less dense. You may also notice your poop is oily or greasy. "The toilet water will have a film that looks like oil," Hendifar says. That's the dietary fat your body failed to break down, he explains. If you notice your poop looks funky now and th Continue reading >>

Signs And Symptoms Of Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer

Signs And Symptoms Of Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer

The symptoms of exocrine pancreatic cancers and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are often different, so they are described separately. Having one or more of the symptoms below does not mean you have pancreatic cancer. In fact, many of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to have them checked by a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed. Early pancreatic cancers often do not cause any signs or symptoms. By the time they do cause symptoms, they have often already spread outside the pancreas. Jaundice and related symptoms Jaundice is yellowing of the eyes and skin. Most people with pancreatic cancer (and nearly all people with ampullary cancer) will have jaundice as one of their first symptoms. Jaundice is caused by the buildup of bilirubin, a dark yellow-brown substance made in the liver. Normally, the liver excretes bilirubin as part of a liquid called bile. Bile goes through the common bile duct into the intestines, where it helps break down fats. It eventually leaves the body in the stool. When the common bile duct becomes blocked, bile can’t reach the intestines, and the level of bilirubin in the body builds up. Cancers that start in the head of the pancreas are near the common bile duct. These cancers can press on the duct and cause jaundice while they are still fairly small, which can sometimes lead to these tumors being found at an early stage. But cancers that start in the body or tail of the pancreas don’t press on the duct until they have spread through the pancreas. By this time, the cancer has often spread beyond the pancreas as well. When pancreatic cancer spreads, it often goes to the liver. This can also lead to jaundice. Dark urine: Somet Continue reading >>

8 Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer You're Probably Ignoring | Reader's Digest

8 Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer You're Probably Ignoring | Reader's Digest

Over 53,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017, and 43,000 will die from it. Symptoms often arent noticeable until the disease is in the advanced stages, but if you notice any of the following pancreatic cancer signs, talk to your doctor. "Jaundice is one of the clearest symptoms of pancreatic cancer," says Christopher DiMaio, MD, a gastroenterologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "Often, patients feel fine until one day a friend notices their eyes look yellow, then they go to the doctor and find they have advanced pancreatic cancer." Cancers that start near the head of the pancreas can block the bile duct, preventing bile from reaching the intestines, where it helps break down fats and eventually leaves the body in the stool. This bile builds up and causes jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin or eyes. It can also cause your skin to itch, according to the American Cancer Society . These are other cancer symptoms women should never ignore and cancer signs men should never ignore . Place the tip of your finger on the top of your abdomen, just below the breastbone. Then imagine your finger pointing straight back through your body to the spine. That's a common location that pancreatic cancer patients report feeling pain, says Dr. DiMaio. "The pain is hard to describe, but a dull, internal pain in this area, or radiating around the sides of your abdomen to the back, is a tip-off and you should get it checked out," he says. Cancers that start in the body or tail of the pancreas can press on nearby organs, causing pain. If the cancer spreads to the nerves surrounding the pancreas, this can cause back pain. Here are some more reasons your back might be hurting . If your urine starts to look dark (brown or rust colored), this Continue reading >>

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