Think you might need pancreatitis treatment, but you’re not quite sure?
As a general rule, you should get that checked out immediately. Pancreatitis is a sign that your digestive enzymes are attacking the pancreas. In some cases, this can have life-threatening consequences.
Pancreatitis comes in two main forms: acute and chronic.
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden onset of inflammation that can result in anything from mild discomfort to a severe illness. Even mild cases of acute pancreatitis can cause enough pain to necessitate treatment. This form of pancreatitis can also be hereditary, though this genetic condition is fairly rare.
Chronic pancreatitis is classified as a persistent inflammation of the pancreas. Unlike the acute form, chronic pancreatitis doesn’t come in suddenly. Most patients suffering from chronic pancreatitis are dealing with constant daily pain.
Most of the time, this type of inflammation begins as acute pancreatitis and worsens over time. Heavy alcohol drinking is also a common cause of chronic pancreatitis.
Acute and chronic pancreatitis come with similar symptoms. Here are the main ones you need to look out for.
1. Abdominal Pain
If you’re suffering from pancreatitis, chances are you’ll experience some abdominal pain.
This type of pain usually starts in the upper middle of the abdomen and then spreads through to the back. It may begin suddenly, or it may build up gradually. If the pain comes on suddenly, it’s usually quite severe.
In most cases, abdominal pain lasts for a couple of days. It’s important to note that the pain can become aggravated by eating or lying flat on one’s back.
Feeling unwell is also a frequent side effect of pancreatitis. Nausea and vomiting are particularly common. For most patients, however, vomiting won’t relieve the symptoms of nausea.
Some patients also suffer from a fever and/or chills. These are usually symptoms of acute pancreatitis.
3. Rapid Heartbeat
When it comes to pancreatitis, an increased heart rate is usually associated with other symptoms such as pain and fever. It can also indicate dehydration from vomiting or limited food intake.
If the patient is bleeding internally, a rapid heartbeat can also serve as a compensation mechanism.
4. Swollen Abdomen
If you’re suffering from pancreatitis, your abdomen will likely be swollen and tender to the touch. Additionally, your abdominal wall muscles can be rigid.
The exact state of your abdomen can help determine your prognosis. If the abdomen is only mildly swollen, your outlook should be excellent. If the CT scan shows that your abdomen is partly destroyed, the prognosis will usually be poor.
5. Severe Cases
In approximately 1 in 5 cases, the inflammation will become severe. This happens when pancreatic enzymes enter the bloodstream, causing damage to other vital body organs. This can lead to serious conditions such as shock, kidney failure, and respiratory failure.
In a severe case of pancreatitis, a patient will become dehydrated and have low blood pressure. This is usually followed by symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, headache, and irritability.
Suffering from a severe case of pancreatitis? You probably need immediate pancreatitis treatment. Even if your symptoms are mild, recognizing the underlying cause of pancreatitis can be essential.
Want to learn more about pancreatitis? Looking for a health-care professional specialized in pancreatic surgery? We can help — contact us today!