Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It has two forms: acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis.
Acute pancreatitis is sudden inflammation of the pancreas that lasts for a few days to one to two weeks. The patient would have an upper abdomen pain in the middle that may go to the back. The pain tends to be severe and patient often need to be hospitalized. Besides pain, the patient may have nausea, loss of appetite and fever. Eating or drinking tends to aggravate the pain.
Common causes of acute pancreatitis include gallstones, alcohol abuse, and some medications. It occurs when the pancreatic digestive enzymes start to digest pancreatic tissue.
Treatment of pancreatitis includes intravenous fluid replacement and pain relief. It usually improves on its own after a few days. The underlying causes of pancreatitis also need to be treated.
Sometimes acute pancreatitis gives rise to complications such as injury to kidney or lung. Occasionally pancreatitis may also result in large cyst formation or infection.
Chronic pancreatitis last for months. Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some patients may develop diabetes mellitus.
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