Pancreatitis: Causes and complications

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a long, flat gland that sits nestled below the stomach in the upper belly. The pancreas generates enzymes that aid digestion and hormones that help regulate the way your body handles sugar (glucose). 

Pancreatitis can occur as acute pancreatitis, meaning it occurs abruptly and lasts for days. Some patients get chronic pancreatitis, which is pancreatitis that persists over several years. 

Mild cases of pancreatitis heal with therapy, while severe occurrences can produce life-threatening problems. 


It is possible to have different symptoms depending on the type of pancreatitis you have. 

  • This type of pancreatitis can cause abdominal pain that extends up to the back and to the upper abdomen. 
  • Abdominal tenderness 
  • Fever 
  • Rapid pulse 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Upper abdomen pain, worsened by eating, weight loss without effort, and foul-smelling feces are all indicators of chronic pancreatitis (steatorrhea). 

 When to consult a physician: 

If you are experiencing acute or long-term abdominal pain, see your doctor. If the pain in your stomach is so bad that you can’t sit still or find a more comfortable position, you should go to the hospital right away.


When digestive enzymes make your pancreas red and swollen, you have a condition called pancreatitis. 

Chronic pancreatitis can develop when the pancreas is repeatedly damaged by acute pancreatitis. The pancreas may develop scar tissue and cease to function. Diabetes and digestive issues can result from a pancreas that isn’t working properly. 

Acute pancreatitis can be brought on by the following conditions: 

  • Gallstones 
  • Alcoholism 
  • Certain medications 
  • Blood triglyceride levels that are too high (hypertriglyceridemia) 
  • Overactive parathyroid glands can cause high calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia) (hyperparathyroidism) 
  • Cancer of the pancreas 
  • Surgical procedure involving the abdomen 
  • Cystic fibrosis 
  • Infection 
  • Abdominal injuries are common. 
  • Obesity 
  • Trauma 

Gallbladder removal with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) can result in pancreatitis. 

 A cause of pancreatitis may never be discovered in some cases. Idiopathic pancreatitis that occurs without any known cause is called idiopathic. 

Risk factors 

Pancreatitis can be caused by a number of things, including: 

  • Overindulgence in alcoholic beverages: Those who drink four to five drinks a day are at an increased risk of developing pancreatitis. 
  • Using tobacco products: Chronic pancreatitis is three times more common in smokers than in nonsmokers. Fortunately, stopping smoking reduces your risk by half. 
  • Obesity: If you’re obese, you’re more likely to develop pancreatitis. 
  • Diabetes: Diabetic patients are at an increased risk of developing pancreatitis. 
  • Pancreatitis is hereditary in nature. The importance of genetics in chronic pancreatitis is becoming more widely accepted. Your chances of developing the disease go up if you have a family history of it and other risk factors. 


It is possible to have pancreatitis and kidney failure. Dialysis can be used to treat severe and long-lasting kidney failure caused by acute pancreatitis. 

  • Issues with breathing: As a result of the chemical changes in your body, acute pancreatitis can cause dangerously low levels of oxygen in your blood. 
  • Infection: Acute pancreatitis makes the pancreas more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections than it normally would be. When someone has a pancreatic infection, they need a lot of care, like surgery to remove the infected tissue. 
  • Pseudocyst: It is possible for fluid and debris to build up in the pancreas due to a severe case of acute pancreatitis. When a large pseudocyst bursts, internal bleeding and infection are two of the worst things that can happen. 
  • Malnutrition: Enzymes needed for digestion and absorption of nutrients from food are reduced in both acute and chronic pancreatic disease states. Malnutrition, diarrhea, and weight loss can result even if you’re eating the same amount of food as usual. 
  • Diabetes: Chronic pancreatitis, which damages insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, can lead to diabetes, a condition that alters how your body uses glucose. 
  • Cancer of the pancreas: Chronic pancreatitis, which causes long-term inflammation in the pancreas, raises your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. 

Doral Health and Wellness’s gastroenterologists provide excellent gastroenterology services. When it comes to managing upper gastrointestinal disorders, liver and gall bladder-related illnesses as well as preventive health with colon cancer screening. Doral Health and Wellness has a specialty in gastrointestinal diseases. Doral Health and Wellness has teamed up with experts to provide you with diagnosis and treatment options. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us on 1-347-384-5690 or 1-347-868-1016. You can also visit our website at  if you have any queries.