Acute Pancreatitis Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

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Alcoholics and those who have gallstones are the ones who are at risk of developing acute pancreatitis. When a person suffers from this condition, the pancreas gland is inflamed and the surrounding blood vessels are swelling, bleeding, infected and damaged. Since it is the role of the pancreas to produce digestive hormones and digestive juices, any damage or blockage can result to these hormones and juices getting trapped inside the pancreas. If they can't get out, they will start eating away the pancreas. In turn, the gland will stop doing its normal functions.
If a person is suffering from acute pancreatitis, this would mean that the condition is still short-term. When it attacks, it will still go back to its normal state. If it progresses, it will become chronic pancreatitis. This is already a severe case of pancreatitis and it can result to serious complications as well as death.
Acute pancreatitis can also come from other factors. This would include: the intake of medications; genetic factors; exposure to certain chemicals; abdominal trauma or injury; infections; surgery and certain medical procedures; and high fat levels inside the blood.
Diagnosing Acute Pancreatitis
To properly diagnose the condition, doctors will check and analyze the patient's:
? Medical history
? Surgical history
? Lifestyle
? Habits
? Symptoms
Doctors may also suggest laboratory tests to check on the following:
? Signs of infections
? Electrolyte and blood sugar levels
? Pregnancy
? Liver, kidney and pancreas functions
? Calcium levels
Diagnostic imaging tests may also be required by your attending physician:
? CT Scan
? Ultrasound
? X-ray
? ERCP or Endoscopic Retrogade CholangioPancreatography
Treating Acute Pancreatitis
It is not enough to treat the condition at home. People who suffer from an attack usually ignore it because these are usually mild attacks. The problem is - the attacks won't stop until treatment is given, particularly for the cause of the problem.
The course of treatment usually relies on the severity of the attack. If there are no complications, doctors will focus on relieving the symptoms and on supporting body functions. This way, the pancreas can recover.
If there is trouble breathing, oxygen will be given to the patient. IV can also be given to the arm. Medications may also be prescribed for nausea, for the pain and for the infection. An NG or nasogastric tube may also be necessary. Last but not the least, if the attack lasts a very long time, it is time to administer nutritional supplements on the IV line.
Preventing Acute Pancreatitis
Preventing the condition is a lot easier than actually treating it. To prevent it, you just need to:
? Stop drinking alcohol
? Avoid taking pain medications that can affect the liver. An example is acetaminophen or Tylenol.
Take a liquid diet that comprise of foods like gelatin, soups and broth.
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This article was published on 2011/04/02