What Is Pancreatitis? Types, Symptoms, Causes, And Complications


Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas-an organ in the digestive tract that helps indigestion. The pancreas produces digestive juices that travel through a tube known as the pancreatic duct and reaches the small intestine. Moreover, it also releases two essential hormones called insulin and glucagon. These two hormones regulate blood glucose levels.

The pancreas is the organ that serves as an endocrine, as well as an exocrine gland due to its diverse roles. Pancreatitis occurs when the digestive enzymes that it produces start working before they need to. Due to which, the pancreas gets damaged, eventually causing inflammation and pancreatitis. If you or anyone in your family has been diagnosed with pancreatitis, you must visit the best gastroenterologist in Karachi.

What Are The Types Of Pancreatitis?

There are two types of pancreatitis, acute and chronic.

Acute pancreatitis- it occurs suddenly and lasts for a few days when the right treatment is given at the right time. Most commonly, it occurs due to gallstones.

Chronic pancreatitis– usually occurs after an attack of acute pancreatitis. It does not go away, even with treatment. Instead, it progresses and damages the pancreas.

The most common cause of it is excessive alcohol consumption. It can also occur due to cystic fibrosis, an autoimmune disorder, genetic history, or eating a diet rich in fats and oils. People with chronic pancreatitis do not know about it for a long time until symptoms appear and bother them.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pancreatitis?

The signs and symptoms of pancreatitis are:




Tender abdomen

Increased heart rate

Pain in the upper part of the abdomen, that gets worse upon eating, especially oily foods.

Chronic pancreatitis may cause weight loss, diarrhea, and oily stools because your body can not digest food due to the lack of digestive enzymes.

What Are The Causes Of Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis occurs when the digestive enzymes that pancreas produces start damaging itself. It can occur due to any of the following reasons.

Abdominal surgery

Gall stones

Cystic fibrosis

Certain medications

Chronic alcohol consumption


Autoimmune disease

High calcium levels in the blood

High triglyceride levels in the blood

Being overweight and obese

Pancreatic cancer

Injury of abdomen

Family history

Smoking cigarettes

What Are The Complications Of Pancreatitis?

Since the pancreas is an essential organ that performs many functions simultaneously. When it does not work well, it can lead to the following conditions.


Pancreatitis can cause cysts to appear inside the pancreas, which can burst and bleed internally.


Pancreatitis can cause infection because of the accumulation of fluids and debris. Therefore, to prevent it, your healthcare provider may prescribe you antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection of the pancreas can result in life-threatening conditions.

Kidney Failure

Chronic pancreatitis can affect your kidney functioning, hence causing kidney failure.

Breathing Problems

Since digestion is affected due to pancreatitis, it causes an accumulation of toxins, because of which lung functioning can be affected, which can cause you difficulty in breathing.



One of the most common complications of pancreatitis is diabetes. It happens because your pancreas produces insulin that regulates your blood sugar levels. When the cells of the pancreas are destroyed in pancreatitis, it results in diabetes. The patient may need to administer insulin.


Since digestion is affected in pancreatitis, it causes malnutrition because nutrients do not get absorbed in your body. Chronic pancreatitis leads to severe weight loss.

Pancreatic Cancer

Chronic inflammation of the pancreas can put you at risk of developing pancreatic cancer.


Pancreatitis is a painful condition that needs prompt medical attention. If left untreated, it can become life-threatening. The most common cause of it is gallstones and excessive alcohol consumption. Therefore, if you drink alcohol, stop doing that. Moreover, maintain a healthy weight. If you have a complaint of oily stools and pain in the abdomen, you must visit a stomach specialist in Karachi.

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