So, the patient can experience the following (depending on the severity):Blood sugar issuesAscitesMalabsorption (weight loss problems)GI issues (diarrhea, pain, oily stools)Shock…multi-organ failure respiratory distressInternal Bleeding…hemorrhageStructure changes of the pancreas: fibrosis, cysts (filled with infection, rupture, hemorrhage), abscesses, duct changesAcute Pancreatitis:Sudden inflammation of the pancreasdue to something that has triggered the digestive enzymes to become activated inside the organ (there will be a high amylase and lipase level in the blood). The pancreas starts to digest itself and swell. As the pancreas digests itself, the tissue dies,and cysts or abscesses can form out of the dead tissue (which can rupture orhemorrhage).In addition, due to the location of the pancreas and how it surrounds the other organs the inflammation and activated digestive enzymes can spread to other organs and damage vessels/organs (ex: lungs) which can lead to internal bleeding, respiratory distress etc.It comes on quicklyand if treated promptly it can be reversed. Typically, there is limited structural damageto the pancreas because it can be reversed with proper treatment (not the case with chronic pancreatitis). It can be fatal (can easily lead to chronic pancreatitis) and can last for several days.Most common causes are gallstones and high amount of alcohol consumption.Chronic Pancreatitis:Chronic inflammation of the pancreas(can be from repeated episodes ofacute pancreatitis but most commonly due to years of alcohol abuse) that has led to irreversible damageto the structure of pancreas which may lead to:loss of the function of the endocrine and exocrine cells (digestion and blood glucose problems)damaged ductsfibrosispancreas may become enlarged or shrunkcysts and calcification patient doesn’t get better and damage is irreversible
Acute pancreatitis:Main causes gallstones and high alcohol consumptionHigh Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol damages the cells of the pancreas specifically the acinar cells along with duct cells (remember they produce bicarbonate and fluids), and that can lead to pancreatic duct occlusion due tothe thickening of the fluid that lines the pancreatic ducts and this can lead tothe activation of the enzyme cells inside the pancreas.other causes infection, tumor, medications, traumaChronic pancreatitis:Main cause is heavy-long term alcohol consumptionRecurrent episodes of acute pancreatitis from alcohol consumption leads to the damage of the pancreatic ducts/acinar cells and this can lead to scar tissue to form. The chronic inflammation of pancreatitis slowly destroys the pancreas overtime (patient needs to avoid alcohol completely).Another cause:Cystic fibrosis: Patients with this condition are lacking the protein CFTR.
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