Irving Primary Care

What Is Acute Pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis is a condition where your pancreas suffers from acute inflammation. The pancreas is a vital organ of the body. It is located behind the stomach. It is responsible for the production and distribution of digestive enzymes and hormones that help control blood sugar levels (insulin and glucagon). Given the role it plays, an inflammation of the pancreas can quickly become a life-threatening condition.

Let us take a look at the symptoms of acute pancreatitis and whether it can be treated.

Symptoms of Acute Pancreatitis

A person suffering from acute pancreatitis will feel pain in the upper left part of the abdominal region. The pain usually arises or gets worse after eating food or drinking. It can last for several days. You may also experience pain when you try to sit up or lie down on your back. This pain often spreads from the abdomen to your left shoulder and back.

Other symptoms of acute pancreatitis include nausea, fever, vomiting, bloating, and sweating. You may also suffer from diarrhea or jaundice.  

Causes of Acute Pancreatitis

There are a number of things that can cause acute pancreatitis. These include:

  • The presence of gallstones in the common bile duct. This can block the pancreatic duct and cause damage to the pancreas.
  • An immune system attack on the pancreas.
  • Damage to the pancreas or gallbladder due to an injury or surgery.
  • Accumulation of triglycerides in the blood.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse.

Acute pancreatitis can also be caused due to other medical conditions such as Cystic fibrosis, Kawasaki disease, Reye’s syndrome, viral infections, and bacterial infections.

Treatment of Acute Pancreatitis

If you are diagnosed with acute pancreatitis, then the following treatment measures will be taken:

  • Administration of fluids. This prevents dehydration. It also supports the healing process by making sure that your organs receive adequate blood flow.
  • Nutritional support after 48 hours. Most patients can start taking food on their own. If they cannot do so, then a feeding tube is inserted. This is passed through the nostrils and down to the intestines.
  • Intravenous administration of pain medications.
  • Evaluation and treatment of any underlying causes are carried out.

Let’s Sum It Up

Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. It is primarily indicated by abdominal pain. Other symptoms of acute pancreatitis include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and sweating. The pain can also spread to your back or shoulder. If you experience such symptoms, get medical help immediately. Acute pancreatitis is treatable, but if you ignore the condition, it can lead to complications. For example, it can cause the formation of pseudocysts in the pancreas. This can lead to internal bleeding and infections. You may also develop diabetes or face kidney problems.

If you’re seeking further advice on the treatment of acute pancreatitis, we suggest you make an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine.

Visit  or call (469)262-5762.