Pancreatitis: Types, Symptoms

Pancreatitis is a disease in which your pancreas becomes inflamed. pancreas is an large organ located in the abdomen, behind your stomach and next to your small intestine. It plays an important role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body cells.


Your pancreas has two main functions:

  1. An exocrine function that helps in digestion by releasing powerful digestive enzymes into your small intestine.
  2. An endocrine function that regulates blood sugar. It releases insulin and glucagon into your bloodstream. These hormones control your body and how it uses food for energy.

Your pancreas can be damaged when digestive enzymes begin working before your pancreas releases them.

Types of Pancreatitis

The two types of pancreatitis as follows:

Acute pancreatitis:

It is the inflammation that occurs suddenly and lasts for short time. Symptoms ranges from mild to a severe discomfort, sometimes it may become life-threatening illness.

Most of the people with acute pancreatitis recover completely after getting the right treatment. In severe cases, acute pancreatitis may show tissue damage, bleeding, infection, and cysts. Severe pancreatitis can also harm other organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

Symptoms Of Acute pancreatitis:

  • Fever
  • Tenderness when touching the abdomen
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen belly
  • Pain in the belly upper part that goes into your back.

Chronic pancreatitis 

It is inflammation that last longer. It is mostly seen after an acute pancreatitis become severe. Another main cause for pancreatitis is drinking a lot of alcohol for a long period of time.

Symptoms Of Chronic pancreatitis

The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are almost similar to those of acute pancreatitis. But you may also seen these symptoms along with them:

  • Continuous pain in your upper belly that goes to your back. This pain may be disabling.
  • Diarrhea 
  • weight loss
  • vomiting
  • Oily, smelly stools (steatorrhea)

Pancreatitis Causes

Acute pancreatitis is caused by:

In some people ( about 15% ) with acute pancreatitis, the cause is unknown.

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Drinking lots of alcohol
  • Infections
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Gallstones
  • High calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia)
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Certain medications
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Surgery
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Trauma

Chronic pancreatitis causes include:

In about 20% to 30% of cases, the cause of chronic pancreatitis is unknown. Men aging about 30 – 40 are usually prone with chronic pancreatitis.

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hereditary  pancreas disorders
  • Gallstones
  • High triglycerides
  • A blockage of the main pancreatic duct caused by cancer.
  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking
  • Medications

Risk factors

Factors that increase your risk of pancreatitis include:

  • Obesity: If you are obese then you’re more likely to get pancreatitis
  • Family history of pancreatitis: If you have family members with the condition of pancreatitis, then you are more prone to attack chronic pancreatitis mostly. However, genes play an important role in some diseases.
  • Alcohol consumption: Some studies showed that people who are very alcoholic (about four to five drinks a day) are at increased risk of pancreatitis.
  • Cigarette smoking:  People who smoke cigarette are more likely to develop chronic pancreatitis. By quitting smoking decreases your risk by about half.


Eating the foods high in fats may cause pain in your abdomen which further reaches to your back. Some lifestyle changes may help you in curing pancreatitis. Avoiding alcohol and smoking also improves your disease condition.