Diseases Of The Pancreas

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Video: Diseases Of The Pancreas

Video: Diseases Of The Pancreas
Video: Acute Pancreatitis: Etiology , signs and Symptoms, pathophysiology , Diagnosis, Treatment 2023, March
Diseases Of The Pancreas
Diseases Of The Pancreas

Diseases of the pancreas


  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic necrosis
  • Pancreas cancer
  • Pancreatic cyst
  • Diabetes

The pancreas is one of the most important secretory organs of the human body and plays a significant role in metabolic and digestive processes. The most common diseases associated with this organ are pancreatitis, pancreatic necrosis, cancer, cyst, and diabetes. You will learn more about the symptoms and diagnostic methods of all major diseases of the pancreas below.

Acute pancreatitis

An acute inflammatory lesion of the pancreas is called acute pancreatitis.

The reasons

About 70% of cases of acute pancreatitis are associated with alcohol addiction and alcohol poisoning.

Acute pancreatitis
Acute pancreatitis

Other causes of the development of the disease:

  • Improper diet (fatty foods, overeating);
  • Cholelithiasis;
  • Heredity;
  • Damage to the pancreas (surgery, accident);
  • Taking medications in toxic doses;
  • Endocrine diseases;
  • Infections (hepatitis virus, mycoplasmosis).


The main symptom of acute pancreatitis is boring pain. It begins in the epigastric zone, hypochondria (right and left), is able to take on a shingle character, to capture the back, lower and lateral parts of the abdomen.

There are other manifestations:

  • Frequent vomiting leading to dehydration
  • Dry mouth, belching;
  • Increase in body temperature (can reach 40 ° C);
  • Heart palpitations;
  • Drop in blood pressure;
  • Bloating and soreness in the abdomen;
  • Drastic weight loss;
  • Diarrhea.

Diagnostic methods

Detecting acute pancreatitis is difficult, especially if the disease is in its early stages.

The diagnostic complex consists of the following studies and analyzes:

  • General blood analysis. Allows you to find signs of an inflammatory process (for example, an increase in the number of leukocytes);
  • Blood chemistry. Establishes an excessive concentration of the enzyme amylase (indicates the development of the disease);
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal cavity. Detects changes in the pancreas and nearby organs. If stones in the gallbladder are the cause of the disease, ultrasound helps to determine their location;
  • Analysis of urine. Reveals amylase in urine, confirming the presence of pancreatitis in the patient;
  • EGDS. Assesses the degree of involvement of the stomach in the inflammatory process.

Find out more: Pancreatitis - Causes, Symptoms, Diet, and Modern and Traditional Treatment

Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis
Chronic pancreatitis

The development of chronic pancreatitis occurs as a result of a protracted inflammatory process in the pancreas. Men over 40 are most susceptible to the disease, but in recent years there has been an increase in cases of chronic pancreatitis in women and in younger people.

The reasons

The most common reasons are the presence of gallstone disease in the patient and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.


Pain in chronic pancreatitis has a cutting character, the patient feels constant squeezing in the affected area. The intensity of the pain increases if the patient does not adhere to a diet, eats fatty foods and carbonated drinks, drinks alcohol.

Other symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are belching, vomiting, bloating, abnormal stools (thick, profuse bowel movements), and lack of appetite. Weight loss is also characteristic, despite maintaining the usual diet.

Diagnostic methods

As part of the diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis, the patient may be assigned the following studies and analyzes:

  • Blood test. With an exacerbation of chronic pancreatitis, an increased concentration of leukocytes in the blood is observed, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate increases, the amylase rate increases (it is also detected in the urine);
  • Ultrasound. The enlargement of the gland (complete or partial), the conformity of the sizes of the head, tail and body to the norm, the evenness of the contours are assessed;

  • CT. Tomography establishes foci of the disease and the presence of stones in the ducts.

Pancreatic necrosis

Approximately 20% of patients with acute pancreatitis have a severe course of the disease, against the background of which changes in the pancreatic parenchyma occur, which have a degenerative-destructive nature. Pancreatic necrosis is more common at a young age, women are most susceptible to it.

The reasons

Pancreatic necrosis can develop due to the following reasons:

  • Cholelithiasis, cholecystitis;
  • Improper diet (an abundance of carbohydrates and fats, overeating);
  • Complications after surgery;
  • Alcohol abuse, which destroys pancreatic tissue;
  • A number of infectious diseases (mononucleosis, mumps).

In approximately 10% of patients, it is not possible to establish the cause of pancreatic necrosis.


The disease is characterized by rapid development and a rapid increase in symptoms:

  • Sharp pain, concentrating in the upper abdomen and having a girdle character. Soreness on palpation of the affected area;
  • Repeated vomiting, bouts of nausea, persistent dry mouth;
  • Formation of cyanotic spots on the abdominal wall, hyperemic skin of the face;
  • Tachycardia attacks, persistence of shortness of breath even at rest;
  • The patient feels constant anxiety and tension, suffers from chronic weakness.

Diagnostic methods

For the diagnosis of pancreatic necrosis, the same studies and analyzes are used as in pancreatitis.

Pancreas cancer

Pancreas cancer
Pancreas cancer

A rare disease characterized by the formation of malignant cells in the tissues of the pancreas is cancer.

The reasons

Factors contributing to the occurrence of pancreatic cancer can be as follows:

  • Cigarettes. The threat of developing the disease for smokers is approximately two times higher. The factor is characterized by reversibility, the timely rejection of cigarettes reduces the risk of cancer;
  • Age. At risk are people who have crossed the threshold of 60 years;
  • Floor. The predisposition to pancreatic cancer is higher in men than in women. Some doctors attribute this to a lower smoking rate among women, but the hypothesis has not been proven;
  • Obesity. Excess weight favors the development of malignant formation of the pancreas;
  • Chronic diseases. Among them, the greatest threats are pancreatitis and diabetes mellitus;
  • Unhealthy food. The risk of cancer increases if a person's diet contains an excess of animal fats and simple carbohydrates;
  • Genetic factor. The presence in the pedigree of cases of pancreatic cancer should be the reason for a more attentive attitude to their health.


Among the main manifestations with the help of which pancreatic cancer makes itself felt are the following:

  • Painful sensations, concentrated in the upper abdomen and radiating to the back. The pain is sharp, encircling;
  • Weight loss. Weight decreases despite maintaining eating habits;
  • Dry mouth, intense thirst;
  • Vomiting due to the compressive effect of tumor formation;
  • Jaundice. Yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes is possible. The symptom is associated with a violation of the outflow of bile, sometimes jaundice is accompanied by itching;
  • Feeling of heaviness in the area of the right hypochondrium. The symptom is associated with compression of the splenic vein;
  • Stool disorders. Lack of enzymes and poor absorption of fat lead to loose, fatty stools with a pungent odor.

Find out more: Pancreatic cancer - causes, symptoms and treatments

Diagnostic methods

After a physical examination of the patient, the doctor may order the following tests and examinations:

  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity is indicated when jaundice and pain in the upper abdomen occur. Ultrasound allows you to detect tumor formation;
  • CT. Computed tomography reveals even microscopic tumors that go unnoticed during an ultrasound examination;
  • Biopsy. The site of the tumor is taken for analysis, the results of which confirm the benign or malignant nature of the neoplasm;
  • Blood test. The study is necessary to assess the level of concentration in the body of the antigen CA19-9;
  • To accurately determine the stage at which pancreatic cancer is located, additional studies are prescribed - chest x-ray, liver ultrasound and others.

Pancreatic cyst

Pancreatic cyst
Pancreatic cyst

A fluid bubble located in the pancreatic parenchyma or nearby tissues is called a cyst.

The reasons

A pancreatic cyst can be acquired or congenital. Congenital formations are associated with tissue development pathologies.

Acquired cysts appear due to the following reasons:

  • Damage to the pancreas (surgery, accident);
  • Chronic or acute pancreatitis;
  • Benign tumor;
  • Malignant tumor;
  • Parasitic infection;
  • Excessive concentration of cholesterol in the blood.

Factors favoring the formation of cysts are overeating, a large amount of fatty foods, excessive alcohol consumption, chronic stress.


The symptoms of a pancreatic cyst are directly related to the location and size of the cavity. Signs of the disease may be absent if the size of the formation does not exceed 2 cm.

Larger capsules assert themselves in the following manifestations:

  • Painful sensations arising in the area of the left or right hypochondrium. The pain can spread to the navel and radiate under the scapula. In some cases, the pain takes on a girdle character. The intensity is determined by the onset of complications;
  • A lump that forms in the abdominal area, which is easily detected by palpation. The swelling gradually increases in size;
  • Jaundice resulting from compression of nearby organs and worsening of bile outflow;
  • Indigestion, nausea and vomiting, alternating constipation and diarrhea;
  • Discoloration of urine and feces;
  • Rapid weight loss associated with impaired bowel function;
  • Constant feeling of weakness and malaise.

If an infection joins the cyst, the symptoms include fever, chills, headaches and muscle pains.

Diagnostic methods

Diagnosis of a pancreatic cyst begins with palpation, as a result of which a bulge is found in the upper abdomen.

The following diagnostic tools are also used:

  • Ultrasound. The study reveals the presence of a neoplasm with reduced echogenicity, characterized by the evenness of the contours and the roundness of the forms;
  • Endoscopic ultrasound. Diagnoses a cyst and establishes its nature, on which treatment depends;
  • X-ray using contrast agents. Determines the displacement of the stomach caused by the cyst;
  • CT. Differentiates false and true cysts.



The development of diabetes mellitus in a patient is caused by a violation of the production of insulin by the pancreas and the accumulation of sugar in the blood.

The reasons

Genetic predisposition is considered the main factor in the development of diabetes in humans.

The following reasons are also possible:

  • Obesity. Individuals with a genetic predisposition to diabetes must first of all keep weight under control;
  • Diseases and injuries of the pancreas;
  • Emotional stress, a state of chronic stress;
  • Viral infections (flu, rubella);
  • Age. Elderly persons are most susceptible to the disease.


Diabetes mellitus can inform itself about the following manifestations:

  • Frequent urination;
  • Constant hunger;
  • Dramatic weight loss (if it cannot be explained by food restrictions);
  • Increased dryness of the skin, itching;
  • Numbness in the legs and arms;
  • Vomiting, nausea;
  • Pain in the abdomen;
  • Deterioration of vision;
  • Infection susceptibility, poor wound healing.


To diagnose diabetes mellitus, the doctor conducts a sugar test, a blood test for glucose, and a urinalysis. If necessary, other diagnostic methods are connected.

Diseases of the pancreas pose a threat to the life and health of the patient and are fraught with dangerous complications. If you find any of the above symptoms, you should definitely visit a doctor.


The author of the article: Gorshenina Elena Ivanovna | Gastroenterologist

Education: Diploma in the specialty "General Medicine" received at the Russian State Medical University named after N. I. Pirogova (2005). Postgraduate studies in the specialty "Gastroenterology" - educational and scientific medical center.

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