Pancreatitis and the Diabetes Connection

Pancreatitis can either be acute or chronic. The acute phase may appear very suddenly and last maybe a few days. This condition when chronic, develops more gradually, and persistent over many years. In both cases of the acute or chronic types, symptoms may be the following:

Severe abdominal pains

Nausea which is very intense

There is often vomiting.

Fever is common.

What causes this problem in the pancreas is some medications taken, genetic conditions, alcoholic problems, and also genetic mutations can cause this problem. Gallstones have been known to be a contributing factor as well.

Mild attacks, could very well improve on their own with simple diet changes. But if the pancreatitis is too severe, it usually requires hospitalization to avoid complications which can be fatal. In the chronic form, it is usually treated with enzyme supplements to help improve digestion.

In the chronic phase of this disorder, it may cause diabetes. The pancreas handles insulin secretions as well as digestive juices in your system. The islets of Langerhans are the islands within the pancreas that handle the insulin processing.

In the acute phase of pancreatitis, lab tests may find elevated levels of the pancreatic enzymes which are amylase and lipase. You may show an elevated white blood cell count, along with high liver enzymes, and high blood sugars. A low calcium level may also be present.

Mild attacks of this disorder will not play too much with the blood sugar levels. But if you have a severe attack, it can damage your pancreas, the islets of Langerhans, and damage then takes place, causing diabetes. And if the attacks become severe and recurrent, surgery for removal of the pancreas might be necessary to improve life, but then you automatically will have resulting type 1 diabetes. After this happens, you will be insulin-dependent for life. But this radical surgery, naturally will keep you away from a lot of pain caused by this disorder. However, the resulting type 1 diabetes will require injected insulin adjustments, and treatment by an endocrinologist is the best doctor to have since the diabetes will be more complicated to treat without a pancreas. The removal of the pancreas results in complex diabetes

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