Symptoms Of Pancreatitis

QUESTION: Symptoms of pancreatitis - What are they?


There are two forms of pancreatitis; Acute pancreatitis and Chronic pancreatitis. Each type of pancreatitis is accompanied or signaled by various symptoms. The most prominent symptom of acute pancreatitis is pain. Pain is usually severe for a patient with acute pancreatitis; the pain will begin in the upper abdomen but it may also radiate around to the back. Patients sometimes seek to relieve the pain by curling into a fetal position. Adopting this position may have a moderate effect of lessening the pain.

Other common symptoms of acute pancreatitis are nausea which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting; fever and chills; a swollen abdomen which is tender to the touch; rapid heartbeat, which may be due to internal bleeding in more serious cases. Also, in more serious cases, characterized by internal bleeding or infection, other symptoms may occur such as weakness and lethargy; irritability and confusion; headache and a feeling of faintness; dehydration and lowered blood pressure. Lowered blood pressure may also lead to circulatory shock.

Chronic pancreatitis is not usually accompanied by severe pain. In patients who do experience pain it is usually debilitating and constant. Unfortunately and ironically the pain accompanying chronic pancreatitis usually lessens as the condition worsens. This is a signal of very serious complications which indicate complete dysfunction of the pancreas. This dysfunction may be manifested in the following ways: the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin commonly known as diabetes; internal bleeding indicated by anemia and low blood count; impaired nutrition and weight loss due to the inability to properly digest food; liver dysfunction which produces the yellowing of the skin (known as jaundice.)

Patients with acute or chronic pancreatitis should seek medical help immediately.

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