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What Does A Swollen Pancreas Mean?

What Causes A Swollen Pancreas?

What Causes A Swollen Pancreas?

The primary function of the pancreas is the production of hormones which regulate the blood sugar as well as enzymes which, once released, assist in digestion. Sometimes, however, these enzymes become active prior to their release, and they attack the pancreatic tissue, causing it to become inflamed and irritated. A swollen pancreas, also known as pancreatitis , is most often caused by gallstones or alcohol abuse , but may also result from infection, pancreatic injury, diseases such as cancer and cystic fibrosis , and duct blockages. Treatment for a swollen pancreas usually includes relieving immediate symptoms and then addressing the conditions underlying cause. A swollen pancreas is caused by the malfunction of the digestive enzymes produced within the organ. Normally, these enzymes do not become active until they have been released from the pancreas. In pancreatitis, however, the enzymes become active before leaving the pancreas, and begin attacking the organ, causing it to become swollen. Usually, the dominant symptom of a swollen pancreas is abdominal pain. As pancreatitis involves an interruption of the digestive enzymes normal function, sufferers may also experience digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting , diarrhea, discolored waste, and unplanned weight loss. Normally, an underlying condition causes these pancreatic enzymes to malfunction. The two most common underlying causes of a swollen pancreas are gallstones and alcohol abuse. Generally, pancreatitis caused by gallstones arises suddenly, and is thus classified as acute pancreatitis. Conversely, pancreatic swelling caused by alcohol abuse tends to escalate over a long period of time, and is thus known as chronic pancreatitis. Other underlying conditions can also cause a swollen pancreas. Normal functio Continue reading >>

Pancreatic Cysts: Symptoms, Causes & Management

Pancreatic Cysts: Symptoms, Causes & Management

What is the treatment for pancreatic cysts? The pancreas is an organ approximately six inches long that is located in the abdomen behind the stomach and in front of the spine and aorta . The pancreas is divided into three regions: the head, the body, and the tail. The head of the pancreas is located on the right side of the abdomen adjacent to the duodenum. The tail is on the left side of the abdomen, and the body lies between the head and the tail. There are two functional parts to the pancreas, referred to as the exocrine and endocrine parts. The majority of the cells of the pancreas produce digestive juices which contain the enzymes necessary for digesting food in the intestine. The enzymes are secreted into smaller collecting ducts within the pancreas (side branches). The side branches empty into a larger duct, the main pancreatic duct, which empties into the intestine through the papilla of Vater in the duodenum. During passage through the ducts, bicarbonate is added to the digestive enzymes to make the pancreatic secretion alkaline. The cells and ducts producing the digestive juices comprise the exocrine part of the pancreas. Just before the main pancreatic duct enters the duodenum, it usually merges with the common bile duct that collects bile (a fluid that helps to digest fat) produced by the liver . The common bile duct usually joins the pancreatic duct in the head of the pancreas. The union of these two ducts forms the ampulla of Vater which drains both the bile and pancreatic fluid into the duodenum through the papilla of Vater. Buried within the tissue of the pancreas, primarily in the head, are small collections of cells, termed the Islets of Langerhans. The cells of the Islets produce several hormones, for example, insulin , glucagon, and somatostatin; th 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 >>

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis facts About 210,000 cases of acute pancreatitis occur in the US every year. Pancreatitis causes abdominal pain. Pancreatitis can be an acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) condition. The hallmark symptom of acute pancreatitis is abdominal pain. Other signs and symptoms of acute pancreatitis are: tenderness of the abdomen to touch Diagnosis of pancreatitis is generally with blood and imaging tests. Most cases of acute pancreatitis require hospitalization; however, treatment of chronic pancreatitis may be managed in an outpatient setting. Complications of pancreatitis may include: malnutrition infection pseudocyst formation Pancreatitis can range from a mild, self-limited disease to a condition with life- threatening complications. What's Causing Your Abdominal Pain? Certain persistent changes in stool color are characteristic for specific conditions such as: Pale yellow, greasy, foul-smelling stool: malabsorption of fat due to pancreatic insufficiency, as seen with pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease Black, foul-smelling stool: intestinal bleeding due to ulcers, tumors; Ingestion of iron or bismuth maroon stool: intestinal bleeding due to ulcers, tumors, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis Clay-colored stool: lack of bile due to blockage of the main bile duct pale yellow, greasy, foul-smelling stool: Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is an abdominal gland situated behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. The main function of the pancreas is to secrete hormones and enzymes that help with digestion and regulate blood sugar (glucose) metabolism. The digestive enzymes are released via the pancreatic duct into the small intestine where they are activated to help break down fat Continue reading >>

Acute Pancreatitis - Nhs.uk

Acute Pancreatitis - Nhs.uk

Acute pancreatitis is a serious condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed over a short period of time. The pancreas is a small organ located behind the stomach and below the ribcage. Most people withacute pancreatitis improve within a week and experience no further problems, but severe cases can have serious complications and can even be fatal. Acute pancreatitis is different to chronic pancreatitis , where the inflammation of the pancreas persists for many years. The most common symptoms of acute pancreatitis include: suddenly getting severe pain in the centre of your abdomen (tummy) Read more about the symptoms of acute pancreatitis and diagnosing acute pancreatitis . Contact your GP immediately if you suddenly develop severe abdominal pain. If this isn't possible, contact NHS111 or your local out-of-hours service for advice. It's thought that acute pancreatitis occurs when a problem develops with some of the enzymes (chemicals) in the pancreas, which causes them totry to digestthe organ. Acutepancreatitisis most often linked to: gallstones which accounts for around half of all cases alcohol consumption which accounts for about a quarter of all cases By reducing your alcohol intake and altering your diet to make gallstones less likely, you canhelp to reduce your chances of developing acute pancreatitis. Read more about the causes of acute pancreatitis and preventing acute pancreatitis . Acute pancreatitisis more common in middle-aged and elderly people, but it can affect people of any age. Men are more likely to develop alcohol-related pancreatitis, while women are more likely to develop it as a result of gallstones. In England,more than25,000 people were admitted to hospital with acute pancreatitisbetween 2013 and 2014. Treatment for acute pancreatitis focuses o Continue reading >>

Pancreatitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment And Prognosis | The Liver, Bile Duct And Pancreas Unit

Pancreatitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment And Prognosis | The Liver, Bile Duct And Pancreas Unit

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed, causing pain in the abdomen (or tummy) which can be very severe. There are two types of pancreatitis, acute pancreatitis , where the pancreas becomes inflamed temporarily, usually getting better within a few days and chronic pancreatitis , where inflammation remains for many years, causing more and more damage. Chronic pancreatitis can develop after many episodes of acute pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis is less common than chronic pancreatitis, with slightly more men than women affected. However, the number of cases has risen significantly over the past 40 years or so, possibly due to an increase in alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking. Alcohol is thought to account for over a third of cases; gallstones are also thought to account for over a third of cases. The average age for alcohol-related acute pancreatitis is 38 while the average age for developing gallstone-related acute pancreatitis is 69. Uncommon causes include autoimmune diseases such as primary biliary cirrhosis ; virus infections; rare side-effects to some medicines; parasite infections; injury or surgery around the pancreas; and high blood fat or calcium levels. Most people who have pancreatitis experience abdominal pain, which can be severe. You may also experience vomiting, fever and feeling generally unwell and in some cases the abdomen may become swollen. Diagnosis can include blood tests, faeces sample test; urine sample test; chest X-rays, biopsy , CT scans , ERCP and MRI scans. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases, acute pancreatitis will settle within a few days. However, treatment needs to be in hospital as you may need strong painkilling injections. In some cases a feeding tube may be passed into your 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 >>

What Are The Causes Of An Enlarged Pancreas?

What Are The Causes Of An Enlarged Pancreas?

What Are the Causes of an Enlarged Pancreas? As a bachelor's-prepared registered nurse with more than 15 years of diversified experience, Juliet Wilkinson innerves our health-conscious population through expert articles. She is a motivated professional who believes that preventive care is the first step towards health and well-being. An important function of the pancreas is breaking down sugars in the body. An integral part of the digestive system, the pancreas produces enzymes for digestion and insulin for glucose, or sugar, breakdown, according to Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Diseases of the pancreas can destroy this organ and are frequently the cause for an enlarged pancreas. The pancreas sits behind the stomach, therefore an enlarged pancreas is usually found on radiographic images. Whether acute, meaning a single painful attack, or chronic, pancreatitis is a painful disorder characterized by the swelling of this organ. Someone with pancreatitis will appear physically ill, having a high fever, pallor and significant abdominal pain, according to Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. In a pancreatic attack, the digestive enzymes get stuck near the pancreas and can break down, or digest, the pancreas' cells. The pancreas is not immune to the effects of cancer, abscesses or cysts. Cancerous tumors will cause pancreatic enlargement, usually visible on computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound. Pancreatic cancer is more common in middle-aged and elderly people and is usually asymptomatic, according to Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. Not all tumors or pancreatic growths are cancerous, however. Some benign, or noncancerous, cysts and abscesses can cause pancreatic enlargement. The "American Journal of Roentgenology Continue reading >>

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis

It's a familiar scene: Your child wakes up in the middle of the night feeling feverish, nauseated, and complaining of a stomach ache. Then come the tears, the vomiting, and the inability to keep fluids down. Usually, these symptoms add up to nothing more than a 24-hour stomach bug. But sometimes there's a different cause. The symptoms of pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas ) can sometimes appear as a stomach virus. Pancreatitis usually goes away quickly, with no permanent damage to the pancreas. But it's important to recognize the symptoms early to lessen the risk of complications. A child may need treatment or dietary changes for a short while. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach that produces digestive juices, or enzymes, that help break down food in the upper portion of the duodenum (small intestine). The pancreas also is responsible for producing insulin and glucagon , two hormones that help control levels of blood sugar, the body's main energy source. When the pancreas is working normally, the enzymes it secretes do not become active until they reach the duodenum. But when the pancreas is inflamed, the enzymes become activated early on (while still in the pancreas) and begin attacking internal structures. Tissues within the pancreas that produce enzymes are damaged, failing to produce new enzymes. Over time, this tissue damage can become permanent. Pancreatitis can be acute (lasting for a few days) or chronic (recurring). Acute pancreatitis develops suddenly, while chronic pancreatitis develops gradually and keeps coming back. Though rare in children, chronic pancreatitis is usually inherited. Kids usually get the acute form of the condition, which can develop idiopathically (with no known cause) or in respon 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 >>

Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms, Treatment & Causes Merck Manuals - Digestive Disorders - Merck Manuals Consumer Version

Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms, Treatment & Causes Merck Manuals - Digestive Disorders - Merck Manuals Consumer Version

Almost everyone with acute pancreatitis has severe abdominal pain in the upper abdomen. The pain penetrates to the back in about 50% of people. When acute pancreatitis is caused by gallstones, the pain usually starts suddenly and reaches its maximum intensity in minutes. When pancreatitis is caused by alcohol, pain typically develops over a few days. Whatever the cause, the pain then remains steady and severe, has a penetrating quality, and may persist for days. Coughing, vigorous movement, and deep breathing may worsen the pain. Sitting upright and leaning forward may provide some relief. Most people feel nauseated and have to vomit, sometimes to the point of dry heaves (retching without producing any vomit). Often, even large doses of an injected opioid analgesic do not relieve pain completely. Some people, especially those who develop acute pancreatitis because of heavy alcohol use, may never develop any symptoms other than moderate to severe pain. Other people feel terrible. They look sick and are sweaty and have a fast pulse (100 to 140 beats a minute) and shallow, rapid breathing. Rapid breathing may also occur if people have inflammation of the lungs, areas of collapsed lung tissue ( atelectasis ), or accumulation of fluid in the chest cavity ( pleural effusion ). These conditions may decrease the amount of lung tissue available to transfer oxygen from the air to the blood and can lower the oxygen levels in the blood. At first, body temperature may be normal, but it may increase in a few hours to between 100 F and 101 F (37.7 C and 38.3 C). Blood pressure is usually low and tends to fall when the person stands, causing lightheadedness. Occasionally, the whites of the eyes (sclera) become yellowish. Damage to the pancreas may permit activated enzymes and toxins s 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 >>

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas.[1] The pancreas is a large organ behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes and a number of hormones.[1] There are two main types, acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis.[1] Signs and symptoms of pancreatitis include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting.[1] The pain often goes into the back and is usually severe.[1] In acute pancreatitis a fever may occur and symptoms typically resolve in a few days.[1] In chronic pancreatitis weight loss, fatty stool, and diarrhea may occur.[1] Complications may include infection, bleeding, diabetes mellitus, or problems with other organs.[1] The most common causes of acute pancreatitis are gallstones and heavy alcohol use.[1] Other causes include direct trauma, certain medications, infections such as mumps, and tumors among others.[1] Chronic pancreatitis may develop as a result of acute pancreatitis.[1] It is most commonly due to many years of heavy alcohol use.[1] Other causes include high levels of blood fats, high blood calcium, some medications, and certain genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis among others.[1] Smoking increases the risk of both acute and chronic pancreatitis.[2][3] Diagnosis of acute pancreatitis is based on a threefold increase in the blood of either amylase or lipase.[1] In chronic pancreatitis these tests may be normal.[1] Medical imaging such as ultrasound and CT scan may also be useful.[1] Acute pancreatitis is usually treated with intravenous fluids, pain medication, and sometimes antibiotics.[1] Typically no eating or drinking is allowed and a tube may be placed into the stomach.[1] A procedure known as an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) may be done to open the pancreatic duct if blocked.[1] In those with gallst 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 >>

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis

What is pancreatitis? Pancreatitis is pathologic inflammation of the pancreas. Your pancreas resides behind your stomach. It secretes enzymes that help you digest food and also regulates how your body manages glucose. Pancreatitis can come and go quickly, or it can be a chronic problem. Treatment will depend on whether your pancreatitis is acute or chronic. The onset of acute pancreatitis is often very sudden. The inflammation usually clears up within several days after treatment begins. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), around 210,000 American adults are admitted to the hospital for acute pancreatitis every year. Gallstones are the most common cause of acute pancreatitis. Gallstones are small, solid masses that form from bile. A large enough gallstone can get stuck at the junction where the main pancreatic duct and the common bile duct come together to form another duct called the ampulla of Vater. These ducts empty into the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The pancreatic duct carries digestive enzymes from the pancreas. The common bile duct carries bile or other biliary substances from the liver and gallbladder. When a gallstone gets stuck here, it can cause a backup of these substances. This can lead to inflammation in both the common bile duct and pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that occurs constantly over the long haul. People with chronic pancreatitis can have permanent damage to their pancreas. Scar tissue develops from this long-term inflammation. Extensive scar tissue may cause your pancreas to stop making the normal amounts of digestive enzymes, or glucose-regulating hormones. As a result, you’re likely to have trouble digesting fats (which are needed t Continue reading >>

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