Basics on Pancreatitis
There are many good sources describing pancreatitis. Here are some that are particularly reputable and informative.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Pancreatitis is inflammation in the pancreas. The pancreas is a long, flat gland that sits tucked behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. The pancreas produces enzymes that help digestion and hormones that help regulate the way your body processes sugar (glucose).
Pancreatitis can occur as acute pancreatitis — meaning it appears suddenly and lasts for days. Or pancreatitis can occur as chronic pancreatitis, which describes pancreatitis that occurs over many years.
Mild cases of pancreatitis may go away without treatment, but severe cases can cause life-threatening complications.
Chronic pancreatitis is often defined as “irreversible” or “progressive,” meaning that it will generally worsen and not improve. There is some disagreement among medical professional on this point, however — something of critical interest to those coping with chronic pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis causes a great deal of suffering, in some cases lifelong. For chronic panceatitis, pain management becomes a key goal.
Here are a few other sites with good, concise descriptions of pancreatitis:
- The Merck Home Helath Handbook
- National Digestive Diseases Clearinghouse (part of NIH): Pancreatitis
- Harvard Medical School’s Patient Education Center on Chronic Pancreatitis and Acute Pancreatitis
- Columbia University Department of Surgery’s pancreatitis site
Here is a good recent analysis of the state of medicine regarding treatment of chronic pancreatitis from Gastroenterology (submitted in fall 2012).
Below is a short animated video describing chronic pancreatitis.