Pancreatitis: signs and symptoms of inflammation of the pancreas

Pancreatitis: signs and symptoms of inflammation of the pancreas

Pancreatitis pain manifests itself in a specific way and is a key symptom of this condition. Pancreatitis is associated with pain and several other symptoms, some of which can be serious. There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic.

Gallstones and alcohol are the two main causes of acute pancreatitis. In the case of chronic pancreatitis, 55% are caused by excessive alcohol consumption or alcoholism.

Where is the pain felt in pancreatitis?

The most common symptom of acute and chronic pancreatitis is pain in the upper abdomen, usually under the ribs. This pain:

– May be mild at first and worse after eating or drinking
– become constant, intense and last for several days
– tends to be worse when lying on the back and better when leaning forward while sitting
– often radiates to the entire back
– Not worsened by movement
– is not deaf or localized in the lower abdomen.
Abdominal pain can also vary depending on the cause of pancreatitis. For example, the pain of biliary pancreatitis is usually sudden, stabbing, and may radiate down the back.

Other symptoms of acute pancreatitis

In addition to abdominal pain, the characteristic symptoms of acute pancreatitis are nausea and vomiting. Stress on various systems can also make sufferers look as sick as they are. They may be pale, sweaty and distressed.

Other symptoms are:

– Fever
– Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
– fast pulse
– Swollen or tender abdomen
– Bloating
– Hiccup
– Digestive disorders
– Stools in the color of clay

Because pancreatitis causes a decrease in digestive enzymes, you can’t break down food enough. When you can’t break down food enough, it doesn’t absorb as well as it should, and that’s what creates a change in the character of the stool. These difficulties in absorbing food and its nutrients can also lead to weight loss.

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis often appear only when complications or when the condition worsens. Chronic pancreatitis has two forms. In the first case, the pain may come and go, escalating for hours or weeks, with no discomfort between flare-ups. In the second, the pain is constant and debilitating. Also, in some cases, people with this form of pancreatitis may experience pain in other parts of the body than the abdomen. Sometimes there may be no pain at all.

Here are some of the characteristic symptoms of chronic pancreatitis:

– Diarrhea
– Nausea
– Vomiting
– Weight loss
– Greasy stools

What is severe pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis is classified as mild, moderate, or severe. While mild or moderate pancreatitis lasts for several days, severe pancreatitis can last for several weeks.
Severe pancreatitis, which occurs in 15-20% of acute pancreatitis cases, can cause multiple complications. The first stage of severe pancreatitis is marked by organ failure that does not go away on its own within 48 hours. Scientists do not yet know exactly how this organ failure occurs, but they believe that pancreatitis, as an inflammatory condition, sets off a chain reaction of inflammation that damages and disrupts systems related to or near the pancreas.

The lungs are the first to be affected. Inflammation causes surrounding blood vessels to leak into the air sacs, and fluid in the lungs makes breathing difficult. Breathing problems caused by organ failure are the most common complications of acute pancreatitis. If organ failure is treated within a few days, the risk of death is low. It is estimated that if organ failure persists for a week or more, the risk of death is 1 in 3.

In severe pancreatitis, pancreatic tissue dies (pancreatic necrosis) and often becomes infected. This complication occurs after organ failure is detected. To prevent the spread of infection, the dead tissue is often removed. It is possible to have severe pancreatitis with necrosis but without organ failure.

Other complications of severe pancreatitis include:

– Bleeding (bleeding)
– Obstruction of the bile ducts
– Peritonitis, inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner lining of the abdomen (peritoneum).
– Rupture of the pancreatic duct
– acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
– Acute lung injury

What other complications are associated with pancreatitis?

Here are some of the other complications that can develop as a result of acute, severe or chronic pancreatitis:

– Low blood pressure
– Dehydration
– Breathing difficulties due to hormonal changes that affect lung function
– Malnutrition due to inefficient digestion and absorption of food.
– Pancreatic pseudocysts or sacs filled with fluid and debris that can cause bleeding and infection if they rupture.
– Extrapancreatic infections (outside the pancreas), including pneumonia, blood infections and urinary tract infections.
– Diabetes

As your body uses its fluids to fight damage to the pancreas, you may become dehydrated. Vomiting and not being able to feed can also contribute to dehydration, as can low blood pressure.

How is pancreatitis diagnosed?

As with most diseases, the diagnosis of pancreatitis often begins with a history and physical examination. Your doctor will also order a blood test and possibly one or more imaging tests, such as:

– Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), especially magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, which allows imaging of the bile and pancreatic ducts.
– tomography
– abdominal ultrasound
– endoscopic ultrasound, which uses a long, thin tube inserted into the small intestine through the throat.
– Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a procedure that uses an endoscope to x-ray the bile and pancreatic ducts.
– magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (CPRM).

To be diagnosed with pancreatitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain associated with pancreatitis:
  • Blood test results show that your levels of the pancreatic enzyme amylase or lipase are at least three times higher than normal.
  • abdominal images showing changes characteristic of pancreatitis.
* Presse Santé strives to convey knowledge about health in a language accessible to all. IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES can the information provided replace the advice of a medical professional.
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