ACUTE PANCREATITIS: is inflammation of the pancreas that occurs suddenly and usually resolves in a few days with treatment. It can be a life-threatening illness with severe complications. The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the presence of gallstones – small, pebble like substances made of hardened bile, that cause inflammation in the pancreas as they pass through the common bile duct. Chronic, heavy alcohol use is also a common cause. Acute pancreatitis can occur with hours or a s long as 2 days after consuming alcohol. Other causes of acute pancreatitis include abdominal trauma, medications, infections, tumors, and genetic abnormalities of the pancreas.
SYMPTOMS: Acute pancreatitis usually begins with gradual or sudden pain in the upper abdomen that sometimes extends through the back. The pay may be mild at first and feel worse after eating. But the pain is often severe and may become constant and last for several days. A person with acute pancreatitis usually looks and feels very ill and needs immediate medical attention. Other symptoms may include:
• A swollen and tender abdomen
• Nausea and vomiting
• A rapid pulse
• Pain may cone on suddenly or build up gradually.
• Rapid heartbeat
• Weakness or feeling tired
• Confusion or difficulty concentrating
Severe acute pancreatitis may cause dehydration and low blood pressure. The heart, lungs, or kidneys can fail. If bleeding occurs in the pancreas, shock and even death may follow.
While asking about an individual’s medical history and conducting a thorough physical examination, the doctor will order a blood test to assist in the diagnosis. During acute pancreatitis, the blood contains at least three times the normal amount of amylase, and lipase, digestive enzymes formed in the pancreas. Changes may also occur in other body chemicals such as glucose, calcium, magnesium, sodium,...