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Chronic Pancreatitis Treatment Options in Anchorage, AK

Chronic Pancreatitis Treatment Options in Anchorage, AK

Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive disorder in which the pancreas suffers damage and is unable to function normally due to long-standing inflammation. Over time, the inflammation can result in permanent damage to the organ. This condition is seen more often among men and it usually develops between the ages of 30-40. According to reports, nearly 86,000 patients are admitted to hospitals across the country each year due to chronic pancreatitis.

Causes of Chronic Pancreatitis

When the digestive enzymes are trapped within the pancreas and not allowed free movement into the intestines, it causes pain and scarring inside the pancreas. Several factors may cause chronic pancreatitis, such as:

Alcohol Consumption

Constant intake of excessive alcohol is the most common cause which accounts for almost 70% of cases of chronic pancreatitis.

Autoimmune disease

It occurs when the body mistakenly attacks healthy pancreatic cells and tissues.

Heredity

Inherited genetic mutations may adversely impact the functioning of your pancreas. Also, heredity diseases such as cystic fibrosis which causes mucus build-up in your lungs can cause chronic pancreatitis.

Other causes include:

  • Narrow pancreatic duct which allows the passage of enzymes from the pancreas to the small intestine
  • Blockage in the pancreatic duct due to the presence of gallstones, pancreatic stones, or cancer
  • Hypercalcemia or high levels of calcium in the blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia or high levels of triglyceride fats in the blood
  • Smoking
  • Unknown causes

Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis

If you have the following symptoms, you may be suffering from chronic pancreatitis:

  • Constant or recurring aches in the abdomen
  • Pain in the upper abdominal region that spreads to the back
  • Stomach ache that worsens when you eat or drink alcohol
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

You may experience additional chronic pancreatitis symptoms when the disease advances and your pancreas is unable to produce digestive juices that are essential for the digestion of food, especially fats and certain proteins. They include:

  • Foul-smelling, oily, and difficult-to-flush stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • Continual nausea and vomiting
  • Diabetic symptoms such as tiredness, feeling very thirsty, and frequent urination urge

4 Stages of Chronic Pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis caused by excessive alcohol abuse can be classified into 4 stages. They are:

  1. Latent or subclinical stage
  2. Early stage or stage of inflammatory complications
  3. Late stage or stage of severe pancreatic insufficiency
  4. Advanced stage or stage of secondary painless pancreatitis

See Also: Pancreatic Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Explained

Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Pancreatitis

Diagnosis

Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your abdominal region. Also, they will ask you about your lifestyle choices, more specifically your drinking habits, and your family medical history of pancreatic disorders.

For an accurate diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis, you may have to undergo certain tests such as:

Lab tests such as blood, urine, and stool tests. They include fecal fat test, amylase test, lipase test, trypsinogen test, and bentiromide test

  • CT scan of your abdomen that creates a 3D image of the pancreas
  • Abdominal ultrasound uses sound waves to form an image of the organ
  • Endoscopic ultrasound in which a long thin tube or endoscope is inserted through the mouth into the stomach to receive images of the pancreas and gall bladder
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) uses an endoscopic procedure into the pancreatic drainage area
  • Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is an MRI test in which dye is injected into the body. This is done to get a more detailed image of the pancreas and the surrounding regions
  • Treatment

Your doctor, based on their diagnosis of your disease, may prescribe medications that may include:

  • Pain killers
  • Pancreatic enzyme supplements to be taken after every meal
  • Insulin if you develop diabetes
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Steroids for chronic pancreatitis caused by autoimmune disease

However, you may require hospitalization if your symptoms worsen and are no longer managed by day-to-day treatment causing a deterioration in your physical condition. The advanced chronic pancreatitis treatment options offered are:

Endoscopy

This procedure is used to reduce pain, remove blockages and pancreatic stones, and place small tubes called stents to plug leaks and improve the flow of enzymes.

Surgery

You may need surgery if you suffer constant severe pain that does not respond to medicines. The procedure involved the removal of a part of your pancreas to ease the pain. It may also be used to remove blockages in the pancreatic duct, widen it if it’s too narrow, or drain cysts.

Possible Complications of Chronic Pancreatitis

As the disease advances, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas suffer extensive damage due to which you may face certain complications such as:

  • Long-term pain and inflammation
  • Recurring episodes of acute pain
  • Nutrient malabsorption occurs due to reduced production of digestive enzymes and can cause malnutrition
  • Calcium deposits within the pancreas harden the pancreatic tissues
  • Gallstones
  • Diabetes due to damage to the cells that produce insulin and glucagon
  • Kidney failure
  • Pseudocysts are caused by the accumulation of fluid and tissue debris
  • Pancreatic cancer

See Also: Detecting Pancreatic Cancer: What You Need to Know

Final Analysis

While chronic pancreatitis can have long-term and serious effects, with proper diagnosis and treatment of your symptoms and making certain lifestyle changes such as abstaining from alcohol and smoking, you can live a long and normal life.

Get The Best Chronic Pancreatitis Treatment in Anchorage, AK, at Far North Surgery

At Far North Surgery, our team of highly experienced and skilled board-certified surgeons offers the highest standards of medical care pertaining to general surgery with special emphasis on surgical oncology and endocrine surgery. To optimize patient experience, we offer state-of-the-art personalized care which includes collaborations with renowned specialists from across the country.

Our team is ably led by Dr. Madhu Prasad, a world-class surgeon with vast experience of over thirty years. His contribution to his field of work has seen him win several awards and accolades, the most notable being the Best of Anchorage Awards for Cancer Treatment.

If you are looking for chronic pancreatitis treatment options near you in Anchorage, AK, contact us at Far North Surgery or call us at 907-276-3676 to schedule an appointment today.

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