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Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas cannot function properly due to various factors. Inflammation or trauma to the pancreas may be responsible for this. Pancreatitis leads to elevated or reduced levels of blood sugar and this can make an individual susceptible to diabetes and other health complications. It is essential to seek treatment early for pancreatitis as if left untreated, the pancreas may stop functioning.

There are certain acute pancreatitis signs and symptoms. Most individuals first experience pain in the abdominal area which may also extend to the back.
The pathophysiology of acute pancreatitis includes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur. Acute pancreatitis symptoms also include muscle weakness, dizziness and loss of consciousness. The body may also try to get rid of toxins and excessive amounts of enzymes in the blood and as a result fluid loss and dehydration may also occur. The condition can also lead to further damage in the body. Acute pancreatitis complications include lung infections and kidney failure. Acute pancreatitis is rare in children since their bodies are able to adjust and make the necessary changes to function properly. Acute pancreatitis causes in children include negligence in feeding them and due to abdominal damage due to a fall or other trauma. See also chronic pancreatitis symptoms and causes

Acute Pancreatitis Causes

What causes acute pancreatitis? Acute pancreatitis usually develops when the body’s natural processes change because there are increased levels of enzymes in the blood. These enzymes are produced by the pancreas and if there is overproduction, the pancreas can also swell. In many cases, the individual may not experience any prior symptoms until the day severe acute pancreatitis occurs and immediate medical attention is necessary. There are various causes of acute pancreatitis. Gallstones contribute to inflammation in the pancreas and the process of gallstone removal can also shock the pancreas and cause it to work too hard. Ingestion of ethanol can also cause the pancreas to overwork and the resulting excessive enzyme production can cause failure of the organ. Acute pancreatitis causes also include consumption of other types of alcoholic drinks can also strain the pancreas. The pancreas may become inflamed when it suffers some kind of damage. Trauma to the pancreas can result in fluctuating enzyme levels and other adverse effects in the body. In some cases, steroids are responsible for acute pancreatitis. Hormonal treatments can influence the functioning of the pancreas. The disease, mumps can also affect the pancreas and lead to acute pancreatitis. Mumps can affect individuals of any age and is transmitted through the saliva. The disease leads to inflammation of organs such as liver, pancreas and heart. Some individuals may develop acute pancreatitis when the body’s autoimmune function is damaged. This can make the pancreas prone to infection. In other individuals, the autoimmune function attacks the body’s own organs and when the pancreas is affected, symptoms of pancreatitis may be experienced. An individual who experiences a scorpion sting may also suffer from sudden and acute pancreatitis. This is because the venom in the sting contains certain compounds which trigger an increased production of enzymes by the pancreas. Hypercalcaemia is a condition characterized by increased levels of calcium in the blood and organs. This condition can affect the pancreas and lead to inflammation. Pancreatitis can also occur due to poor diet. Consumption of too many fatty foods and red meats can cause the pancreas to overwork. The body’s vital organs start overworking when body temperature drops too much. The pancreas may also get affected when this happens. Acute pancreatitis can also occur as a result of certain prescription drugs and interactions between different drugs.

Acute Pancreatitis Treatment

Acute pancreatitis treatment can be started immediately. Acute pancreatitis treatment in children and adults involves addressing each of the symptoms. To relieve the pain and discomfort in the abdomen, pain relieving medication is usually administered. In case infection is the cause of acute pancreatitis, antibiotics are also administered to treat and prevent infection in the pancreas. Fluids and electrolytes may be given to the individual intravenously. To allow proper healing of the pancreas, the individual may be advised to stop eating and drinking for some time. The healing process may continue for some weeks. With proper and complete treatment, acute pancreatitis prognosis is good. Patients can expect to recover fully. If treatment is not given or if acute pancreatitis treatment guidelines are not followed properly, the condition can cause severe damage in the body and this can even become life threatening. If acute pancreatitis symptoms management is not done properly, the condition can become severe and chronic. In some cases surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue in the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis surgical treatment may also be recommended if there is an abscess. If the pancreatitis is chronic and does not respond to treatment, a portion of the organ may have to be removed. Following recovery, the individual must make certain important changes in the diet and lifestyle so that recurring episodes of acute pancreatitis do not occur. Acute pancreatitis diet treatment includes restricted consumption of fatty foods and also reducing the caloric intake. In case the episode of acute pancreatitis was related to diabetes, the individual must also restrict sugar intake. Consumption of alcoholic drinks should also be stopped. Increased intake of antioxidants is known to help in alleviating symptoms and hence plenty of fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet.

Acute Pancreatitis Diagnosis

Acute pancreatitis diagnosis is done through a series of tests. These include a patient overview where the doctor will inquire if there has been a history of acute pancreatitis or alcohol and drug use in the patient’s family. There will also be medical examination where the doctor will examine the areas where pain is experienced. Blood tests are done to check the levels of amylase and lipase which are pancreatic enzymes. Acute pancreatitis lab values will indicate an elevation in the levels of these enzymes and this allows the doctor to make a diagnosis. Acute pancreatitis diagnostic tests may also include a CT scan and ultrasound may also be done to determine if there are any abnormalities in the pancreas. However, it is possible that acute pancreatitis may have differential diagnosis.
Submitted on January 16, 2014