Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms

Pancreatitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the pancreas. Of the people who get this disease, the largest majority are those who are heavy drinkers of alcohol. So if you get diagnosed with it expect one of the first questions from any doctor to be about whether you drink. But there are also lots of other causes. Among them are trauma from surgery or accidents, deformities or problems that can be inherited, infections, problems caused when taking certain drugs, and even scorpion bites. There are also an estimated 14% of people who get the disease for which there are no known causes.

This disease comes in two forms, acute and chronic. Chronic is an ongoing problem that can last for years and is usually less severe than acute. Many people can have the chronic version and notice nothing more than a constant dull pain in their side or upper abdomen that can be misinterpreted as heart burn. Chronic pancreatitis usually presents with less severe symptoms but it can also cause severe problems if not diagnosed and treated.

Acute attacks are more severe and can leave sufferers incapacitated because of the intense pain. If left untreated it can even result in damage to other organs or death. Many people who suffer from this disease start with one acute episode which then keeps coming back as a chronic problem. Since the pancreas is such a crucial organ it is important to know what the symptoms are to make sure that medical help is sought when needed.

Both forms of pancreatitis cause upper abdominal pain that can radiate around and into the back. During a severe acute attack it can feel like a sword is being driven into your body through your upper stomach and out your back. The pain can cause nausea and vomiting if untreated. The pain of a severe attack can also increase your heart rate and push your blood pressure much higher than normal along with a fever in some cases.

Many times the only treatment is complete bed rest and cessation of eating to allow the pancreas to cool down as the inflammation lessens. Patients are given IV fluids and pain killers to help them deal with the intense pain. In other cases where the inflammation is caused by an obstruction in the pancreatic duct, surgery may even be required to solve the problem. If doctors suspect blockage due to gall stones they may even suggest removal of the gall bladder.