The pancreas is a digestive gland placed behind the stomach and between the small intestine and spleen, which can harm functions of metabolism and digestion when it becomes inflamed. Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreatic digestive enzymes that are meant to digest food in the small intestine become active in the pancreas instead, which then attacks itself. The illness can be acute, quick and sudden, or chronic, lasting for up to several years and causing serious digestive damage.
The most common causes of pancreatitis are gallstones and excessive alcohol use. Gallstones are crystalline concretions formed of bile in the gallbladder, which often pass through other parts of the biliary tract, which includes the pancreatic duct. Environmental and genetic reasons have also been known to cause pancreatitis along with other common causes like mumps, scorpion venom, certain medications, steroids and trauma to the abdomen.
Pancreatitis usually causes severe pain in the upper abdomen that often stretches to the back. Other symptoms include high fever, nausea, vomiting, abnormally rapid pulse, low blood pressure, dehydration, rapid weight loss and internal bleeding. Chronic pancreatitis may also lead to signs of diabetes or pancreatic cancer. A diagnosis of pancreatitis can often be easily made with an inexpensive abdomen ultrasound, which can clearly see whether or not the pancreas is inflamed and can also detect gallstones and an alcoholic fatty liver.
A pancreatitis attack can be a medical emergency, typically requiring hospitalization. If chronic pancreatitis is contracted, the patient may need to be admitted to an intensive care unit. Such hospital visits can cause serious financial difficulty and you may wish to apply for disability benefits from your Long Term Disability Insurance Company and/or Social Security. You will need an experienced disability lawyer like Nick Ortiz. Call his office at 850-308-7833 for more information and assistance.