Patient Care | Conditions
About Chronic Pancreatitis
Chronic pancreatitis is a low grade inflammatory disease of the pancreas. It can occur after an attack of acute pancreatitis or can present on its own. It is common in patients who drink too much alcohol but can occur in almost anybody. Chronic pancreatitis typically causes severe abdominal pain which for some patients can be constant. As the pancreas gland becomes replaced by increasing amounts of scar tissue; other problems can result such as diabetes and difficulty digesting food. It is a very difficult condition to treat and most patients have to be managed by life-style changes, giving up alcohol and controlling their pain. Very occasionally, procedures are required to drain parts of the pancreas or surgery is needed to remove part or all of the diseased areas.
Typically, the most common signs of Chronic Pancreatitis are:
- abdominal pain
What causes Pancreatitis?
Chronic pancreatitis can affect people of any age, but is most common in middle-aged men aged between 45 and 54.
- long-term alcohol misuse is responsible for around 7 out of every 10 cases of chronic pancreatitis. This is because heavy drinking over a number of years can repeatedly damage the pancreas.
Less Common causes :
- smoking, which can also increase the risk of alcohol-related chronic pancreatitis
- a problem with the immune system that causes it to attack the pancreas
- an inherited genetic mutation that disrupts the functions of the pancreas.
Preventing Measures outlined by NHS Choices
Certain lifestyle changes may help prevent Chronic Pancreatitis. You can do this by not smoking cigarettes and managing how much alcohol you drink.