2016-06-08 15:55:28 UTC

Pancreatitis 101: What is Pancreatitis?

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  • Pancreatitis is inflammation (swelling) of the pancreas that is most often caused by gallstones or alcohol abuse. 
    • There are other causes that your gastroenterologist will look for, as well.
  • Pancreatitis often starts as a sudden attack of upper belly pain. 
  • Treatment for pancreatitis usually focuses on easing pain and meeting the fluid and nutritional needs of the patient.
  • There are two types of pancreatitis, acute and chronic.
  • Both have similar symptoms that can be recurrent and either mild or severe. 

Acute pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis

Can occur suddenly and goes away within a few days.

Takes many years to develop and does not go away, since the pancreas is permanently injured or scarred.

Most often from gallstones or alcohol abuse, but there are other causes. Sometimes, no cause for it can be found.

Chronic pancreatitis can be associated with frequent flare-ups or persistent symptoms such as pain, diabetes or issues digesting fat.

Most cases are mild.

Many patients with chronic pancreatitis will have calcifications of the pancreas that show on an X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan.

Mostly involves a short hospital stay to heal the pancreas.

Most people with chronic pancreatitis have a good outlook if they follow their treatment plan.



© AGA, September 2017

©AGA, July 2016

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