Bad News - Pancreas May Have Stopped Working
Last week my husband's doctor told us that his pancreas most likely stopped working some time ago. His readings are between 213 and 293 and this is before and after eating. He was told to keep a log of his readings and to keep a food journal. He is to bring it back to her this week. She didn't have his results from that test where it tells how his readings have been for the past three months so when he goes back she'll have that. She believes that since his readings are still high that maybe his pancreas has stopped working and he may need to be put on insulin. Anybody experienced this or have any advice to lend me? What does this mean for him? Will he always have to take insulin from now on? Has he gone from Type II to Type I? When the pancreas totally stops making its own insulin, he'll have to start taking insulin, as insulin is a necessity....none of us can live without it. With the #'s he's having, I would say he still makes some insulin at this point, or it would be much higher. If he's still making some insulin, but not enough to control his levels with diet/exercise and oral meds, he may need to start it just to get acceptable levels, then perhaps he can go off it. Bad things can happen if his blood sugars stay that high over a long period of time, so he needs to do whatever he can to get better levels. You've mentioned before that he doesn't do a lot to help control blood sugars and doesn't eat what he should and has difficulty exercising. Perhaps insulin would help him better control things. If he's really scared of insulin, perhaps this is the wake up call he needs to get on the ball and do all he can to take care of himself. Firstly, if the pancreas totally stopped, he'd be in the ER now. Keep an eye and if you have constant results over 300 for a week then Continue reading >>
What Is The Pancreas?
. www.digestivedisorders.org.uk/ .. (List of fact sheets online .. Click here 1/2006). The pancreas is a large and important gland behind the stomach close to the duodenum. It digests your food and produces insulin, the main chemical for balancing the sugar level in the blood. This leaflet describes what and where the pancreas is, how it works, what can go wrong with it, how your doctor can diagnose diseases of the pancreas and how they are treated. Where is the Pancreas? The pancreas is a solid gland about 10 inches (25cm) long. It is attached to the back of the abdominal cavity behind the stomach and is shaped like a tadpole. Its head is just to the right of the mid-line and its body and tail point upwards at an angle so that the tail is situated just beneath the extreme edge of the left side of the ribs. The head is closely attached to the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), into which the stomach empties food and liquid, already partially digested. It is to this partially digested food that the pancreas adds its digestive juices (enzymes). The tube draining the liver of its bile (the bile duct) lies just behind the head of the pancreas and usually joins the bowel at the same place where the fluids from the pancreas enter the bowel. Running behind the body of the pancreas are many important blood vessels. Because of its position in the body, it is not easy for a surgeon to operate on the pancreas. What can the Pancreas do? Food consists of carbohydrates (e.g. starch), proteins (e.g. meat), and fat (e.g. butter), and digestion is not possible without the enzymes produced by the pancreas. The pancreas makes a number of different enzymes each of which is responsible for breaking down the different types of food into small particles suitable for absorption. The Continue reading >>
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 >>
Pancreas And Diabetes: Why Does Pancreas Stop Producing Insulin?
Every part of an individual’s body has its own mechanisms. It is the constant production of hormones that leads to bodily as well as mental changes. This task of generating enzymes and hormones which are required for breaking food down lies with Pancreas. Being an important part of the body, its responsibility is also about producing enough insulin in the body so that the sugar level remains intact. In fact, imbalance in the production of insulin can lead to the health problem called Diabetes. Once the problem starts developing, it can be only controlled by taking suitable diet and by avoiding eating sweets. Let us see what the function of Pancreas is and its contribution towards the development of Diabetes. What is Pancreas and What is it’s Role? Pancreas is an important part of the body, which is positioned behind the lower stomach. It has the ability to produce insulin and glucagon that tends to regulate sugar level in the blood. Carrying out the double functionality of stowing hormones into the blood as well as discharging enzymes through ducts, Pancreas have always held a significant position in controlling hormonal secretion and regulation. A slightest of imbalance in the production of insulin can lead to the problem of diabetes that requires immense care in dealing with dietary management. Playing an essential part in the endocrine as well as exocrine systems, pancreas has exceptional functional system. Basically, the endocrine system is aimed at the production of chemicals as well as hormones in the body. On the other hand, exocrine system constitutes of glands in the body that tends to release saliva, sweat and digestive enzymes. As known to all, the role of Pancreas is to produce adequate amount of insulin for regulating the level of sugar in the body. The Continue reading >>
Can You Live Without A Pancreas?
Please visit the new WebMD Message Boards to find answers and get support. Yes. The pancreas has two main functions: secretion of insulin, which controls blood sugar levels, and secretion of digestive enzymes and hormones. Although not a perfect solution, these functions can be replaced through insulin injections and oral pancreatic enzymes with meals. Surgery to remove the pancreas completely is rarely done, so very few people have no pancreas at all. Much more common is having a pancreas that doesnt work properly. In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops making insulin but continues to make digestive enzymes. In cystic fibrosis and chronic pancreatitis, both insulin and enzyme production are often impaired. After surgery to remove part of the pancreas (such as for pancreatic cancer), in some cases the remaining pancreas cant make enough insulin, enzymes, or both. People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart attacks and strokes, and low pancreatic enzymes can lead to vitamin deficiencies. Artificial replacement doesnt work as well as a healthy pancreas, but it allows many people with pancreatic insufficiency to live full, active lives. Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, blogs, or WebMD Answers are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Continue reading >>
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 >>
Pancreatitis - What Happens
Pancreatitis usually appears as a sudden (acute) attack of pain in the upper area of the belly (abdomen). The disease may be mild or severe. Most people with pancreatitis have mild acute pancreatitis. The disease does not affect their other organs, and these people recover without problems. In most cases, the disease goes away within a week after treatment begins. Treatment takes place in the hospital with pain medicines and intravenous (IV) fluids. After inflammation goes away, the pancreas usually returns to normal. In some cases, pancreatic tissue is permanently damaged or even dies (necrosis). These complications increase the risk of infection and organ failure. In severe cases, pancreatitis can be fatal. Long-term pancreatitis (chronic pancreatitis) may occur after one or more episodes of acute pancreatitis. The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is long-term alcohol abuse. What happens during the course of chronic pancreatitis varies. Ongoing pain and complications often occur. Complications may include flare-ups of symptoms, fluid buildup, and blockage of a blood vessel, the bile duct, or the small intestine. If much of your pancreatic tissue has died, you may become malnourished. This happens because the pancreas no longer produces enzymes needed to digest fat and protein. So fat is released into your stool. This condition, called steatorrhea, causes loose, pale, unusually foul-smelling stools that may float in the toilet bowl. If the damaged pancreas stops making enough insulin, you also may develop diabetes. Chronic pancreatitis increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. About 4 out of 100 people with chronic pancreatitis develop this cancer.1 Continue reading >>
How Long Can You Really Live When A Pancreas Quits Working? | Yahoo Answers
How long can you really live when a pancreas quits working? Are you sure you want to delete this answer? Best Answer: I think this is related to diabetes? Well, if your pancreas stops working, you will require insulin, either from shots or an insulin pump. Your body cannot get the nutrients from food without proper levels of insulin. (Weight loss is a big symptom) Insulin helps in the digestive process and helps your cells get their required nutrients. When you're diagnosed, it's scary, but you can still live a normal live. Test your blood sugar 6 times a day and try to get on the insulin pump. You can actually live without your pancreas, though probably not too long without medical assistance. If your pancreas were completely destroyed, your biggest immediate problem would be a complete lack of insulin, which would need to be replaced quickly (difficult to say how quickly, hours to days) or you would develop DKA (DiabeticKetoAcidosis), and eventually end up in a coma and then die. If you were to replace your insulin, you would have to be very careful of hypoglycemia because you can no longer produce glucagon, one of the important counter-regulatory hormones for insulin (it's effects are largely opposite to those of insulin). Finally, you would be unable to digest foods well, especially fats, but we have replacement supplements for pancreatic enzymes as well. All in all, life would be pretty hard, but not entirely impossible. This is called type 1 diabetes! You can live a couple of months tops unless you inject insulin. Before insulin was discovered (only about 100 years ago) people used to eat weired diets of moss and other crazy things to prolong their lives but lost extreme amounts of weight before dying. This is still happening in some countries where children are Continue reading >>
What Can Happen If The Pancreas Stops Working?
Food consists of carbohydrates (e.g. starch), proteins (e.g. meat), and fat (e.g. butter), and digestion is not possible without the enzymes produced by the pancreas. All the body’s cells use glucose (sugar) as an energy source. The level of sugar in the blood is kept constant by insulin, which is made by special cells in the pancreas. If the cells are not working properly and insulin is lacking then diabetes develops. Depending upon how badly the pancreas fail there are two problems. The first is that food is poorly absorbed, which causes weight loss, and there is diarrhea, often rather fatty as the undigested fat causes pale, bulky and smelly motions. The second is, if too little insulin is made, diabetes develops with frequent passage of urine and weight loss. Failure of Pancreas may cause: Pseudocyst. Acute pancreatitis can cause fluid and debris to collect in cystlike pockets in your pancreas. A large pseudocyst that ruptures can cause complications such as internal bleeding and infection. Infection. Acute pancreatitis can make your pancreas vulnerable to bacteria and infection. Pancreatic infections are serious and require intensive treatment, such as surgery to remove the infected tissue. Kidney failure. Acute pancreatitis may cause kidney failure, which can be treated with dialysis if the kidney failure is severe and persistent. Breathing problems. Acute pancreatitis can cause chemical changes in your body that affect your lung function, causing the level of oxygen in your blood to fall to dangerously low levels. Diabetes. Damage to insulin-producing cells in your pancreas from chronic pancreatitis can lead to diabetes, a disease that affects the way your body uses blood sugar. Malnutrition. Both acute and chronic pancreatitis can cause your pancreas to produc Continue reading >>
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Table of Contents Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. This condition usually begins at an acute stage, and in some cases, may become chronic after a severe and/or recurrent attack. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the digestive enzymes attack the tissue that produces them. One of these enzymes, called trypsin, can cause tissue damage and bleeding, and can cause the pancreas blood cells and blood vessels to swell. With chronic pancreatitis, the pancreas may eventually stop producing the enzymes that are necessary for your body to digest and absorb nutrients. This is called exocrine failure and fat and protein are not digested or absorbed. When chronic pancreatitis is advanced, the pancreas can also lose its ability to make insulin; this is called endocrine failure. The pancreas is a large and important gland behind the stomach close to the duodenum. It digests your food and produces insulin, the main chemical for balancing the sugar level in the blood. Where is the Pancreas? The pancreas is a solid gland about 10 inches (25cm) long. It is attached to the back of the abdominal cavity behind the stomach and is shaped like a tadpole. Its head is just to the right of the mid-line and its body and tail point upwards at an angle so that the tail is situated just beneath the extreme edge of the left side of the ribs. The head is closely attached to the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), into which the stomach empties food and liquid, already partially digested. It is to this partially digested food that the pancreas adds its digestive juices (enzymes). A gradual or sudden severe pain in the center part of the upper abdomen goes through to your back; this pain may get worse when you eat and builds to a persistent pain Nausea and vomiting Jaundice (a yello Continue reading >>
An Overview Of The Pancreas
Pancreas Essentials The pancreas maintains the body’s blood glucose (sugar) balance. Primary hormones of the pancreas include insulin and glucagon, and both regulate blood glucose. Diabetes is the most common disorder associated with the pancreas. The pancreas is unique in that it’s both an endocrine and exocrine gland. In other words, the pancreas has the dual function of secreting hormones into blood (endocrine) and secreting enzymes through ducts (exocrine). The pancreas belongs to the endocrine and digestive systems—with most of its cells (more than 90%) working on the digestive side. However, the pancreas performs the vital duty of producing hormones—most notably insulin—to maintain the balance of blood glucose (sugar) and salt in the body. Without this balance, your body is susceptible to serious complications, such as diabetes. Anatomy of the Pancreas The pancreas is a 6 inch-long flattened gland that lies deep within the abdomen, between the stomach and the spine. It is connected to the duodenum, which is part of the small intestine. Only about 5% of the pancreas is comprised of endocrine cells. These cells are clustered in groups within the pancreas and look like little islands of cells when examined under a microscope. These groups of pancreatic endocrine cells are known as pancreatic islets or more specifically, islets of Langerhans (named after the scientist who discovered them). Hormones of the Pancreas The production of pancreatic hormones, including insulin, somatostatin, gastrin, and glucagon, play an important role in maintaining sugar and salt balance in our bodies. Gastrin: This hormone aids digestion by stimulating certain cells in the stomach to produce acid. Glucagon: Glucagon helps insulin maintain normal blood glucose by working in the Continue reading >>
Digestive Disorders Health Center
The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and next to the small intestine. The pancreas does two main things: It releases powerful digestive enzymes into the small intestine to aid the digestion of food. It releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body control how it uses food for energy. Pancreatitis is a disease in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. Pancreatic damage happens when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are released into the small intestine and begin attacking the pancreas. There are two forms of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation that lasts for a short 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. In severe cases, acute pancreatitis can result in bleeding into the gland, serious tissue damage, infection, and cyst formation. Severe pancreatitis can also harm other vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Chronic pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis is long-lasting inflammation of the pancreas. It most often happens after an episode of acute pancreatitis. Heavy alcohol drinking is another big cause. Damage to the pancreas from heavy alcohol use may not cause symptoms for many years, but then the person may suddenly develop severe pancreatitis symptoms. Symptoms of acute pancreatitis: Upper abdominal pain that radiates into the back; it may be aggravated by eating, especially foods high in fat. Fever Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis: The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are similar to those of acute pancreatitis. Patients frequently feel constant pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to the back. I Continue reading >>
Pancreatitis Symptoms & Treament | Wake Gastroenterology
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum. The duodenum is the upper part of the small intestine. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine through a tube called the pancreatic duct. These enzymes help digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body use the glucose it takes from food for energy. Normally, digestive enzymes do not become active until they reach the small intestine, where they begin digesting food. But if these enzymes become active inside the pancreas, they start digesting the pancreas itself. Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly and lasts for a short period of time and usually resolves. Chronic pancreatitis does not resolve itself and results in a slow destruction of the pancreas. Either form can cause serious complications. In severe cases, bleeding, tissue damage, and infection may occur. Pseudocysts accumulations of fluid and tissue debris may also develop. And enzymes and toxins may enter the bloodstream, injuring the heart, lungs, and kidneys, or other organs. Some people have more than one attack and recover completely after each, but acute pancreatitis can be a severe, life-threatening illness with many complications. About 80,000 cases occur in the United States each year; some 20 percent of them are severe. Acute pancreatitis occurs more often in men than women. Acute pancreatitis is usually caused by gallstones or by drinking too much alcohol, but these arent the only causes. If alcohol use and gallstones are ruled out, other possible causes of pancreatitis should be carefully examined so that appropriate treatment if available c Continue reading >>
Why Does Your Pancreas Stop Producing Insulin In Diabetes?
Transcript of Why Does Your Pancreas stop producing insulin in diabetes? Pancreas The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen Behind the stomach and is surrounded by other organs including the small intestine, liver, and spleen. 6 inches long Shaped like a flat pear The wide part, called the head of the pancreas, is positioned toward the center of the abdomen. The middle section is called the neck and the body of the pancreas. The thin end is called the tail and extends to the left side. Surrounded by many blood vessels. Pancreas Function Exocrine Function Endocrine Function Insulin Type 1 Diabetes This is when the body fails to produce sufficient insulin to regulate blood sugar levels As we know without the insulin, many blood cells cannot take glucose from the blood and therefore finds other sources of energy The Liver produces ketones, which is the alternative source of energy, but with high levels of ketones can lead to Ketoacidosis Why Does Your Pancreas stop producing insulin in diabetes? Insulin is a hormone. Allows body cells to absorb glucose from the blood. Glucose is stored in the liver and muscle as glycogen and stop the body from using fat as a source of energy. When there is very little insulin in the blood or none at all, glucose is not taken up by most body cells. Insulin is a control signal to other body systems, such as amino acid uptake by body cells Insulin is not identical in all animals - their levels of strength vary. Porcine insulin, insulin from a pig, is the most similar to human insulin, humans can receive animal insulin. However, genetic engineering has allowed us to synthetically produce 'human' insulin. Insulin is made by special cells called beta cells which are part of the pancreas Insulin Type 2 Diabetes When the body does not respon Continue reading >>
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 >>