Pancreatitis – symptoms, diagnosis and treatment blood transfusion for cancer patients

Hereditary Pancreatitis. Heredity accounts for approximately 1% of pancreatitis cases. If heredity is responsible for the disease, inflammation is likely to be chronic, and to strike at relatively early ages. Hereditary inflammation also appears to increase the likelihood of pancreatic cancer; by age 70, 40% of people suffering from hereditary pancreatitis display some symptoms of cancer. Incidence; Causes and Development

Acute Pancreatitis. Some 60-80% of acute pancreatitis cases can be traced to two causes: gallstones and alcohol damage. Gallstones can block central ducts, preventing digestive enzymes from leaving the pancreas. Over time, alcoholism damages the gland and hinders its ability to function.

Chronic Pancreatitis is a series of recurring inflammatory attacks that gradually causes irreversible damage to the pancreas and surrounding tissue.


Alcoholism is the primary cause of chronic inflammation: between 70% and 80% of cases can be traced to excessive, habitual alcohol consumption. Damage caused by alcoholism takes years to develop: most chronic pancreatitis symptoms don’t appear until people are in their thirties or forties.

While alcoholism is the primary cause of chronic inflammation, the condition can be traced to other causes: cystic fibrosis, drugs, genetic disposition and radiation therapy may all trigger the disease. In some cases, no cause can be determined.

Chronic pancreatitis symptoms resemble those of an acute inflammatory attack, but recur over time. Although upper abdominal pain is usually present, some people don’t experience pain at all. Those with acute pancreatitis often look ill and have a fever, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. Other possible symptoms include:

Pancreatic enzyme tests are used to assess how much inflammatory damage the gland has endured. Blood tests that measure levels of lipase and amylase may indicate inflammation. Lipase and amylase are both pancreatic enzymes. If the pancreas function is affected due to inflammation, tests for the two enzymes may be as high as three times normal levels.

Ultrasound imaging is often used to detect duct-blocking gallstones. Abdominal CT scans can help detect signs of infection or damage to glandular tissue. Ultrasound, CT scans and other diagnostic imaging tools can also detect physical problems associated with chronic inflammation, including calcification of the pancreatic tissue ( calcium deposits may build up in the gland, causing tissues to harden).

For most acute attacks, pain management with analgesics is all that is required. If infection causes the inflammation, treatment may include antibiotics. Surgery may be required to remove gallstones, drain obstructed bile ducts or remove fluid-filled cysts.

When alcoholism is the cause of the inflammation, complete abstinence from alcohol is required. People suffering from alcoholism may need to seek therapy or support groups to stop drinking. A low fat, high carbohydrate diet, which requires fewer enzymes to digest, is recommended. If damage to the gland is severe, enzyme supplements to aid digestion can be taken with meals. Surgical options include draining blocked ducts, and in advanced cases, removal of a portion of the gland. Complications

Hypoxia may occur as a result of pancreatitis. Hypoxia occurs when the body’s cells do not receive enough oxygen, and is usually treated by administering oxygen through a facemask. Although rare, complications from an inflamed pancreas can be fatal. Lung, kidney and heart failure may all occur in severe cases.

Without treatment, chronic inflammation gradually destroys the pancreas’ ability to function. Reduced digestive enzymes cause malabsorption of nutrients, leading to both weight loss and poor quality bowel movements. If insulin-producing islet cells are damaged, diabetes may develop. Chronic inflammation carries with it a heightened risk of pancreatic cancer.