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"How can I tell if I am having pancreas problems?"

ZocdocAnswersHow can I tell if I am having pancreas problems?


I have been having some pain and other symptoms and I'm not sure what to do.


The pancreas is a gland that serves several functions in the body, and disorders of the pancreas can manifest in several different ways. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it can cause abdominal pain, usually described as central and radiating to the back. This condition, called pancreatitis, is often caused by alcohol ingestion or gall stones that become trapped in the pancreatic duct. Less commonly, autoimmune disease, very high levels of triglycerides and certain medications can cause pancreatitis. Other disorders of the pancreas can lead to a malabsorptive diarrhea, as the enzymes secreted by the pancreas that are needed by the intestines to help digest food become scarce. In Type I Diabetes, the body attacks certain cells within the pancreas which lowers the amount of insulin in the blood. If you suspect that you are having problems with your pancreas, then you should talk to your primary care physician. Usually, the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis can be made through a combination of blood tests (which can show elevated levels of the pancreatic enzymes amylase and lipase), history of symptoms, physical exam, and, if needed, imaging typically with CT scan which will show inflammation of the pancreas.

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