Preventing pancreatitis: 4 ways to take care of your pancreas | Health - Hindustan Times
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Preventing pancreatitis: 4 ways to take care of your pancreas

By, New Delhi
Jan 19, 2024 08:00 PM IST

Pancreas plays an important role in digesting food and regulating sugar levels. Here're ways to prevent pancreatitis and take care of this crucial gland.

Our pancreas plays an important function in the body by making enzymes that help digest food and the hormone insulin and glucagon that aids in controlling blood glucose levels. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas and this happens when digestive juices or enzymes attack the pancreas. Excessive alcohol intake, gallbladder stones, cholesterol, cigarette smoking can raise risk of the disease. Severe belly pain, nausea, vomiting, lowered blood pressure, fluid build-up in the belly are some of the symptoms of pancreatitis. (Also read | Loss of cells in pancreas in elderly might cause age-related diabetes: Research)

Dr. Vijay Kumar C Bada, Sr. Consultant Surgical Gastroenterology, HPB, Bariatric & Robotic Sciences, Clinical Director, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad suggests ways to deal with the disease.(Freepik)
Dr. Vijay Kumar C Bada, Sr. Consultant Surgical Gastroenterology, HPB, Bariatric & Robotic Sciences, Clinical Director, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad suggests ways to deal with the disease.(Freepik)

Pancreas is an important digestive organ, which, for most part is an organ of least awareness among the common people. Any inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is a common condition. It can be a milder form which only needs few medications and lifestyle changes and can be treated on an outpatient basis. However, there is a severe form which can be lethal and sometimes life threatening too.

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Dr. Vijay Kumar C Bada, Sr. Consultant Surgical Gastroenterology, HPB, Bariatric & Robotic Sciences, Clinical Director, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad suggests ways to deal with the disease.

How to avoid pancreatitis

Dr Bada shares five ways of preventing pancreatitis:

1. Less alcohol intake

Intake of alcohol in any form, frequency and quantity affects the pancreas in a major way. Alcohol is the most common cause off pancreatitis, both acute and severe. Cessation of alcohol intake will definitely keep the pancreas, safe and healthy.

2. Removal of gallbladder stones

Stones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis) is another most common cause of pancreatitis. The gallbladder stones occasionally slip into the bile duct and block the pancreatic duct thereby causing pancreatitis. Gallbladder stones are relatively common. Many will not have any symptoms and are usually picked up as an incident finding on ultrasonography of the abdomen. It is suggested to undergo surgery and removal of the gallbladder and the stones whenever they are detected either incidentally or symptomatic. Doing this will definitely prevent pancreatitis.

3. Controlling cholesterol

An increase in the cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood is a significant risk factor for development of pancreatitis. An increase in the cholesterol can be because of many reasons which are very well known to the population. Getting treated for high cholesterol levels, controlling the cholesterol levels in the blood, preventing hyper cholesterolemia by maintaining, healthy lifestyle will definitely help in avoiding pancreatitis.

4. Go for screening

There are some inherent disorders of the pancreas, which can cause pancreatitis, in spite of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There can be genetic disorders which run in families and can cause pancreatitis. There are few anatomical abnormalities in the pancreas. Viz, pancreas division, annular pancreas and a few others which are present in an individual since birth. Such defects can lead to pancreatitis at any age in an individual. A proper screening by an experienced medical professional is essential whenever a person is at risk of having such inherent disorders of the pancreas. For example, if any of your family member or a sister has had pancreatitis for an unknown cause, one should be alarmed about the possibility of such disorders of the pancreas and take adequate screening precautions.

Other causes

There are a few other less common causes of pancreatitis. Pancreatic cancer, abdominal injury, drugs, high levels of parathyroid hormone, high calcium levels, cystic fibrosis are a few other conditions which can cause pancreatitis, but their incidence is very low. If an individual is suffering from the attacks of pancreatitis and a cause has not been found, then such rare possibilities have to be evaluated at a centre which has rich experience in treating pancreatic disorders.

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