Pancreatitis

This is an inflammatory condition, usually of unknown origin which involves the pancreas gland which produces enzymes to help digestion.This can present with abdominal discomfort or vomiting/nausea and usually inflammation can be identified by a blood test, called amylase (this can also come from the salivary glands also and therefore if the amylase is raised we do a further test on this to check which is the origin of the rise in amylase), and also a lipase blood test can be helpful.An abdominal ultrasound is usually indicated and gall stones can be identified sometimes as a cause. Sometimes there is a background genetic inherited condition leading to recurrent chronic pancreatitis and a genetic blood test can help in its identification.

Sometimes an MRI scan, called an MRCP can identify any anatomical abnormality in the pancreas, and very occasionally a sophisticated endoscopy called an ERCP may be necessary.Pancreatitis is difficult to treat and sometimes pancreatic enzymes need to be taken as supplements and also vitamin supplements if it is a chronic condition.It can be serious and require hospitalisation if it is acute and it is usually something which is identified by blood tests initially.

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