The pancreas is a part of the endocrine system and is the gland that is responsible for regulating insulin and blood glucose levels. It is also responsible for the excretion of the enzymes necessary to digest food properly. Disease of the pancreas is very serious and requires medical attention.
Common Pancreatic Diseases
The pancreas plays an incredibly important role in managing the body’s digestive system. To test for pancreatic diseases, generally, doctors will use blood tests to detect enzyme levels in the bloodstream. Diagnostic imaging and biopsies are also possibilities. Generally, if there is a problem with the pancreas, it is one of the following conditions:
Diabetes is when the pancreas fails to produce the insulin necessary to digest food and manage blood sugars safely. The body’s blood sugar levels start to rise. This is called hyperglycemia. Symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Blurry vision
- Strong, fruity breath
If you have any of these symptoms, see an endocrinologist immediately.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. It is generally identified by abdominal pain, indigestion, and fever. Pancreatitis can be categorized into one of three categories:
- Hereditary Pancreatitis: Pancreatic disease is linked to genetics. Thus, it is important to stay up to date on your health if anyone in your family has pancreatic disease. It means that one will experience episodes of pancreatic inflammation. It can begin at any age.
- Acute Pancreatitis: Acute pancreatitis is a single occurrence (or multiple, infrequent occurrences) of an inflammation of the pancreas. This can be caused by trauma, drinking too much alcohol, medication, or another disease. Acute pancreatitis is still to be taken seriously and can result in anything from general pain to death. It can also damage other organs. Getting the proper treatment immediately is very important.
- Chronic Pancreatitis: Usually afflicting middle-aged men, chronic pancreatitis, understandably, has similar symptoms to acute pancreatitis. However, the attacks will happen more often and last longer. Generally, this disease is caused by alcohol consumption. Over-consumption of alcohol can cause inflammation of the pancreas, resulting in possible permanent damage.
Pancreatitis is often treated with fluids and pain medication. If it is severe enough, a patient may be admitted into an ICU to be monitored closely. Chronic pancreatitis has to be treated with nutrition therapy and possibly insulin.
Pancreatic cancer is divided into two types of tumors:
- Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer
- Endocrine Pancreatic Cancer
Each category has different symptoms, risks, and are diagnosed differently. Exocrine tumors are more common than endocrine, but both present a very important risk.
Symptoms vary in each different type of cancer. Pancreatic cancer generally does not show symptoms in the early stages, which is why it is very important to get screened regularly. People with later-stages of pancreatic cancer may experience pain in the abdomen and lower-middle back, loss of appetite, brown urine, or jaundice.
Treating Diseases of the Pancreas in Chandler, AZ
If you require surgery for your pancreatic disease, give Agave Surgical Associates a call. We can be reached at (602) 582-5233 or you can schedule an appointment online using our secure form.