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Causes of Pancreatitis

Gain insight into the complexities of pancreatitis as we explore its causes, symptoms, and potential treatments in this informative article.

  • 09 Oct 2023
  • 3 min read

The pancreas is a component of the gastrointestinal system and is responsible for producing enzymes to aid in digestion as well as hormones to regulate blood glucose levels. Pancreatitis is characterized by inflammation of the pancreas, which arises when the digestive enzymes within the organ become activated and irritate the lining of the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis can occur suddenly and last for a few days, while chronic pancreatitis manifests gradually over the course of several years. In this article, we explore the causes of pancreatitis.


How is Pancreatitis Caused?

Swelling and pain are consequent to inflammation of the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis often stems from gallstones and generally dissipates after a few days of treatment. Nonetheless, repeated episodes of acute pancreatitis can progress into chronic pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis is a severe condition that does not resolve on its own. In the absence of treatment, chronic pancreatitis can result in permanent damage to the pancreas. Excessive alcoholism is the most common cause of chronic pancreatitis. Some of the other causes of pancreatitis are:

  • Gallstones: Gallstones formed in the gallbladder can come out and block the bile duct, resulting in blockage of pancreatic enzyme release into the small intestine. Retention and activation of digestive enzymes in the pancreas result in irritation of the pancreas, which results in inflammation.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to the development of pancreatitis by increasing the viscosity of pancreatic secretion, which leads to inflammation and fibrosis.
  • High levels of triglycerides in the blood: higher levels of triglyceride-rich lipoprotein in the circulation can occlude the pancreatic capillaries, which can damage pancreatic acinar cells, resulting in inflammation.
  • Abnormally high calcium levels: Elevated calcium levels in the blood can deposit in the pancreatic duct, which results in the retention and activation of trypsinogen in the pancreas. Activation of enzymes in the pancreas results in inflammation.
  • Family history of pancreatitis: Genetics plays an important role in the development of pancreatitis. A person with a family history of pancreatitis has a higher chance of developing pancreatitis.
  • Other causes of pancreatitis include pancreatic cancer, cigarette smoking, diabetes, abdominal injury, infection, cystic fibrosis, obesity, abdominal surgery, and trauma.

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A number of factors are responsible for the pancreas inflammation or pancreatitis. In most of the cases, heavy alcohol use or gallstone formation is the primary cause of the disease. However, chronic pancreatitis may develop over time, resulting in permanent damage to the organ-pancreas. Other potential causes for the disease include- pancreatic cancer, smoking, diabetes, abdominal injuries, infections, cystic fibrosis, abdominal surgeries, and trauma. Awareness of these causes of pancreatitis and preventive checkups can be helpful for prevention and early intervention to safeguard the pancreas. Also, ensure that you have a health insurance plan in place to safeguard yourself against any financial stress.


Disclaimer: The above blog aims to provide general information about health and related topics. Any information provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials is not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is important that you contact your Doctor before starting a new medicine or health regime.


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