The pancreas is as important part of the body that is in charge of regulating blood sugar through the production of insulin hormone. Needless, to say, any damage to this organ may lead to severe malfunction in the human body. One such condition is when the pancreas swells up, causing a disease known as acute pancreatitis or AP.
The first and foremost sign of AP is chronic pain in the upper abdominal region, which can also lead to back pain. In some cases, acute pancreatitis may lead to damage or malfunction of other organs as well.
AP can be caused either due to direct causes or for indirect reasons. Some direct causes include injury to the pancreas, autoimmune response to the pancreas, damage to the organ from a prior surgery and the presence of excessive fatty deposits exist in the body. However, indirect causes for acute pancreatitis include alcohol abuse, cystic fibrosis, Reye’s syndrome, Kawasaki disease and the ingestion of certain medications.
Smoking and drinking alcohol can greatly increase the chances of acute pancreatitis. Symptoms of the condition include pain in the abdomen region only minutes after eating and drinking. This pain may last for days at a time and this pain increases while lying down, when compared to sitting down.
Acute pancreatitis can be diagnosed using a blood test. This test will reveal whether amylase and lipase are leaking out of the pancreas and into the blood stream. For further confirmation, doctors may also ask the patient to undergo an ultrasound, CT or MRI scan. These scans show any abnormalities of the pancreas, if this exists.
Once the disease is diagnosed, the patient will be hospitalized. Saline and fluids will be administered intravenously. Medications for the pain and the infection may also be prescribed. If these treatments do not solve the issue, doctors may advise surgical procedures to handle the condition. Such a surgery may be conducted in order to drain the fluid from the organ, repair tissue damage from injuries or open the blocked ducts.
Normally, a patient undergoes immense pain after the treatment for AP, regardless of whether the treatment involved medications only or surgery as well. Pain medications may be prescribed to deal with the discomfort post the treatment, so that recovery is faster.
Acute pancreatitis may be related to type 2 diabetes, as people suffering from the former often suffer from the latter condition as well.
People who have been diagnosed with the condition will need to undergo treatment. However, the form of treatment may differ from one patient to the next. If the medications alone are sufficient to reduce the symptoms, other forms of treatment may never be required for that patient. However, if the disease remains unresponsive to medications, a surgery may be needed to rectify the treatment.
People who do not suffer from acute pancreatitis should not seek treatment for the disease. Even if the symptoms seem similar, it is recommended that you get checked out by the doctor immediately.
Since painkillers are one of the main form of treatment for acute pancreatitis, patients need to be aware for side effects. Some common effects include nausea, rash, liver damage, stomach ulcers and even heartburn. In rare cases, the pain medications may also cause an allergic reaction.
Furthermore, after the surgery for AP, immense pain may be caused. This pain may subside after a few days, but if it does not, patients are required to visit their doctors and seek treatment for the same.
Post the treatment, patients will need to manage the pain using medication prescribed by doctors. Apart from this, a proper diet is necessary to maintain proper health. Patients need to stay hydrated at all times. Electrolyte drinks are recommended at such a stage. Along with this, patients should completely stop drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. If these changes are not followed, AP may recur at a later point of time.
Recovery depends on the intensity of the symptoms and the kind of treatment used. For instance, in case of a non-surgical treatment, recovery may be speedier, but if the treatment involves a surgery, recovery rate will be much slower.
Price of treatment may be anywhere between Rs. 500 and Rs. 10,000 in India. However, this rate may differ depending on other complications related to the treatment.
Treatment effect is temporary and a person who has suffered from acute pancreatitis has a higher risk of undergoing the same disease in the future. If the patient does not follow the strict diet and lifestyle regulations, the condition may recur in the future as well. Drinking alcohol and smoking also increases the chances of a recurrence.
Acute pancreatitis can sometimes be controlled with the help of a healthy and balanced diet. Green vegetables, lean meat and certain fruits make up a diet that is both balanced and beneficial for the body of a person suffering from AP. Patients can also follow a 3 day liquid diet option, during which they should not consume any solid food material. Sugary items and foods rich with protein and fat should also be avoided for the duration of the 72 hours.