When it comes to the stomach and it’s components, what comes to the mind of a lot of people is the stomach, small intestine, large intestine before the pancreas. The truth is the pancreas is just as important as the other organs and except something goes wrong it, very few of us gives it the attention it deserves.
It is an important part of the digestive system that is vital in controlling blood sugar. It is an organ shaped like a tadpole that is positioned near the stomach and curves towards the intestine. Here are a number of things everyone should know about their pancreas.
Genetics And Smoking Puts You At Risk
A lot of people are diagnosed with pancreas problems each year but not much are detected until it’s too late to treat because there are usually no symptoms felt or detected at the early stages. Obesity, smoking and a family history of pancreatitis which is why it is important to let go of certain lifestyles and adopt a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Women that have a family history of BRCA-positive breast cancer, Lynch disease, or men with prostate cancer are more at risk as research has shown a link between these forms of cancer am pancreatitis, even though researchers are not quite sure.
Enzymes And Hormones
From the moment you start chewing food, the pancreas releases a number of essential enzymes and hormones, including amylase and lipase that you need for digestion to take place. Both are secreted into the small intestine to assist in the break down of days and proteins after they are passed down from the stomach.
This is perhaps the function the pancreas is most known for. Specific cells of the organ known as the beta cells, produce insulin—a hormone that helps take sugar from the foods you eat and moves it through you bloodstream and into your cells where it can be converted into energy.
People that have type 1 diabetes experience a situation where their immune system attack these beta cells, which results in an inability to produce insulin. That is why such people require supplemental insulin several times a day to keep their blood sugar levels normal.
Pancreatitis is a painful condition that occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pain can last for a few days and it is sometimes triggered by gallstones – small masses that form in the gallbladder which can block the duct through which those digestive enzyme flow from the pancreas into the intestine.
The critical signs that may indicate you’re having pancreatitis may include but not limited to fever, upper abdominal pain that feels worse after eating or radiates to your back, vomiting, and tenderness in the belly. It’s best to see a doctor who will place you on lots of intravenous fluids and stop you from eating and drinking till your pancreas heals.
Alcohol Affects The Pancreas
Long term alcohol use also causes inflammation of the pancreas, just like binge-drinking at a particular time can also cause pancreatitis. Alcohol can inadvertently trigger acute pancreatitis or cause low-level inflammation that can last for months or even years. Some signs to take note of include oily, foul-smelling stool that floats because your body fails to digest food easily.
It can be detected through an ultrasound scan and the pain can be alleviated through pain relievers and pancreas rest for a few days. In extreme cases however, excess fluids may have to be drained from the infection to relieve the pain.