Are you suffering from any Pancreatic Problems?
The pancreas is a gland behind stomach and in front of spine. It produces juices that help in breakdown of food and also produces hormones that help to control blood sugar levels. Pancreas is affected by various disease processes like infections, inflammations, Stones, Cancers etc. Of these afflictions most common problems in India are Acute and chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
a) Acute Pancreatitis: It is the inflammation of the pancreas that occurs suddenly and usually resolves in a few days with treatment. It can be life-threatening illness with severe complications. The swelling is generally because of a stone blocking the Pancreatic Duct or because of direct damage inflicted by alcohol particularly after binge drinking. Commonly presents with severe pain which is sometimes agonizing. The pain is also commonly perceived in the lower back. Depending on the severity of problem patient can also have vomiting, jaundice, fever, breathing difficulty, low urine output etc.
b) Chronic Pancreatitis: This is a problem where in there is a slow progressive damage to pancreas due to which the pancreas shrinks in size. This is common in middle age patients more commonly in men. This generally is due to long time alcohol consumption or blockage by stones. It may also be seen in very young patients.
It generally presents with long standing abdominal pain which radiates to lower back. However, the most striking presentation is with greesy stools after taking oily meals due to deficiency of digestive enzymes as a result of shrinking of gland.
c) Pancreatic Cancer: This is commonly seen in middle aged or elderly men, Ethonolics and Chronic Smokers have higher predilection for cancer. It presents with pain in abdomen associated with weight loss. Significant number of patients also have associated jaundice and vomitings.
Majority of pancreatic problems can be diagnosed by simple blood tests, stool test and ultrasound scan (USG) of abdomen.
However, special tests like Endoscopy, CT scan, MRI scan Tumour markers etc., may be required to characterize the lesion or to know the severity of disease or to know the extent of the disease.
a) Acute Pancreatitis: In about 80% patients the disease is mild and usually responds to simple medication. However, in the remaining cases due to severe necrosis in the gland patients may have Multi organ failure as well as sepsis. These patients generally require ICU treatment including ventilator, dialysis, power-full antibiotics etc. Some of these patients also require operation to remove the unviable and infected part of pancreas so as to reduce the sceptic load.
b) Chronic Pancreatitis: In early phase these patients may be managed with artificial pancreatic enzyme supplements and pain killers. Some of these cases can also be managed by dissolving the stones with lithotripsy or other endoscopic methods. However, those who do not respond to these modalities can be helped by surgery where in the obstructed MPD can be joined directly to intestine by a procedure called Bypass.
c) Pancreatic Cancer: It is important for these patients to be picked up at early stage of disease. Such cases can be offered complete cure by surgery. For those who present at advanced stages also, quality of life can be improved by various endoscopic or surgical or medical measures. Pancreas can be affected by various ailments from simple infections to cancers. Some of these can be prevented by adopting healthy life style. Majority of pancreatic problems including cancer are curable. It is very important to seek Medical advice at an early stage.
-Source: THE HINDU (News Paper)