Pancreatitis

What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation in the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach that plays a crucial role in digestion and blood sugar regulation. Acute pancreatitis can be life threatening. It comes on suddenly and often leads to permanent damage to the pancreas. Symptoms of pancreatitis can include severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and rapid heartbeat, and require immediate medical attention. The condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including heavy alcohol consumption, gallstones, certain medications, high levels of fat in the blood, and infections. Treatment usually involves hospitalization, pain management, and addressing the underlying cause of the inflammation.

Chronic pancreatitis is a long-term inflammation of the pancreas that causes permanent damage to the gland. It develops slowly over time and can worsen progressively. The condition can be caused by several factors, including heavy alcohol consumption, gallstones complications etc. There are a number of other factors that may contribute to the development of this condition. Treatment typically involves managing symptoms under the evaluation of an experienced gastroenterologist.

Mild pancreatitis can cure without treatment or intervention. However, severe cases may cause life-threatening complications and require immediate treatment by a medical expert.

Causes of pancreatitis

Pancreatitis may be caused by the following listed factors:

  • Gallstones complications
  • Alcohol abuse
  • High calcium blood levels (hypercalcemia)
  • Injury to the abdomen
  • Elevated triglyceride levels
  • Genetic causes, such as gastric fibrosis
  • Severe viral or bacterial infection
  • Cartain medications, such as estrogen supplements and some diuretics (water pills)
  • Structural complications of the pancreatic and bile ducts

Pancreatitis Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis may include the following listed below:

  • Clammy skin
  • Abdominal bloating and tenderness
  • Jaundice (a condition characterized by yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Low-grade fever
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Severe, steady pain in the upper/middle part of the abdomen, which often radiates into the back

Chronic pancreatitis may cause the following symptoms:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Onset of diabetes mellitus
  • Pain in the abdomen and/or back
  • Pale colored, oily stools

Diagnosing Pancreatitis

At Neuro Spine & Pain Center, we understand that the diagnosis of pancreatitis often involves specialized techniques that are not readily available at all medical facilities. Rest assured, we offer all of these advanced approaches, and our teams of pancreatic care specialists possess extensive experience in their utilization. Along with standard imaging procedures like CT, MRI, and abdominal ultrasound, we also employ:

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) - It is a minimally invasive procedure conducted by an interventional endoscopist. The procedure combines endoscopy and ultrasound imaging to visualize and diagnose conditions in the digestive tract and adjacent organs, including the pancreas. A thin, flexible tube with a camera and ultrasound probe at the end (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach and small intestine. The ultrasound probe produces high-frequency sound waves ("echoendoscope") that bounce off organs and tissues and create detailed images that can be viewed in real-time on a monitor. This helps get a close-up view of the pancreas (size, shape, and texture of the organ) and the pancreatic duct.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) – It is a procedure that combines endoscopy and X-ray imaging to diagnose and treat conditions of the bile and pancreatic ducts, including pancreatitis. ERCP can be useful for diagnosing pancreatitis by detecting blockages or narrowing of the pancreatic ducts, which can cause inflammation and other complications. The procedure is also helpful in showing any abnormalities and identify if pancreatitis is caused by gallstones. The experienced interventional endoscopists at Neuro Spine & Pain Center are expert in performing this procedure.

Pancreatic Function Tests – We recommend this endoscopic test to evaluate the ability of the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes and hormones. The pain caused by pancreatitis can be significantly relieved by reducing stimulation of the pancreas.

How is Pancreatitis Treated?

The treatment of pancreatitis depends on the underlying cause, the severity of symptoms, and the complications that may arise. Acute pancreatitis often requires hospitalization and supportive care, while chronic pancreatitis may require long-term management to prevent or manage complications. Typically, a treatment procedure starts with fasting. This is helpful in resting bowels and allowing ample healing time for pancreas. Doctor may recommend intravenous fluids to replenish your body fluid status as you recover.

For individuals with severe pancreatitis, the physicians at Neuro Spine & Pain Center may suggest a surgical intervention to eliminate a pancreatic obstruction or to drain a fluid buildup. In some cases, the removal of the gallbladder may be recommended through surgery. As alcohol consumption is often a contributing factor to pancreatitis development or worsening, your treatment plan may include the cessation of alcohol use.

SPECIALIST CONSULTATION

Are you looking for a leading pancreatitis specialist in the Key West region? Reach out to Neuro Spine & Pain Center now. Our team offers thorough diagnostic assessments, as well as continuous care and assistance for individuals experiencing acute or chronic pancreatitis. We prioritize your comfort and well-being, providing compassionate services in a relaxed office setting.

The effects of pancreatitis can be severe, leading to distressing pain and discomfort. Treatment can vary in length depending on whether the inflammation is acute or chronic. At Neuro Spine & Pain Center, we have a team of exceptionally skilled professionals who are exclusively devoted to providing top-quality care for individuals with pancreatitis. Our approach includes state-of-the-art diagnostic evaluations and minimally invasive interventions, aimed at helping people with pancreatitis achieve a better quality of life.

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