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Acute pancreatitis is a serious disease of the pancreas, an organ and gland in the upper abdominal area. It is characterized by a sudden and severe inflammation of the pancreas and can be life-threatening and led to other serious complications.
The pancreas produces and secretes digestive enzymes that help to digest food. These enzymes flow from the pancreas through the pancreatic duct into the small intestine, where they become active and break down food. In pancreatitis, inflammation causes these digestive enzymes to become active while still in the pancreas where they begin to digest the pancreas itself.
Acute pancreatitis is often caused by alcohol abuse or gallstones. Less commonly it may also be caused by a reaction to medications, abdominal trauma, pancreatic cancer, duodenal ulcer, genetic deformities of the pancreas, and other conditions.
This process leads to the symptoms of acute pancreatitis that typically includes severe abdominal pain. People with acute pancreatitis are also at risk for developing chronic pancreatitis. Other complications of acute pancreatitis include diabetes, malabsorption, hemorrhage, and organ failure, which can be serious, even life threatening, and result in additional symptoms. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of acute pancreatitis.
Making a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms and history of alcohol use. A physical examination is also performed, which usually reveals severe tenderness of the upper abdomen.
Diagnostic testing includes blood tests to measure the amount of chemicals called lipase and amylase in the blood. Levels of amylase and lipase can be very high in acute pancreatitis.
Imaging tests may include an abdominal ultrasound and CT scan, which can reveal gallstones, one of the causes of pancreatitis. CT scan may also show damage or calcification of the pancreas, a sign of chronic pancreatitis. Other tests that help to visualize the pancreas and related structures, such as the bile ducts and the gallbladder, include endoscopic ultrasound and MRI.
It is possible that a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis can be missed because symptoms may be attributed to other conditions with similar symptoms. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of acute pancreatitis.
The treatment for acute pancreatitis involves a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans vary depending on the severity of the symptoms, the presence of complications, and an individual's medical history. Acute pancreatitis is treated in the hospital and includes the intravenous administration of antibiotics, fluids, and pain medications, and monitoring for the development of complications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of acute pancreatitis....more »
A diagnosis of acute pancreatitis may be delayed or missed because some symptoms, such as abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, and diarrhea can attributed to many other conditions as such as gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or peptic ulcer. It is important to seek prompt medical care if you experience any symptoms of ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Acute pancreatitis.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to Acute pancreatitis:
Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Acute pancreatitis, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
The goal of treatment of acute pancreatitis is to control symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, and minimize the secretion of digestive enzymes to allow the pancreas to heal. Treatment also aims to prevent the development of serious complications, such as chronic pancreatitis, malabsorption, and malnutrition, kidney failure, and pseudocyst. ...Acute pancreatitis Treatments
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Acute pancreatitis may include:
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Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Acute pancreatitis may include these symptoms:
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Read more about causes and Acute pancreatitis deaths.
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Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed. The best known, irritable bowel syndrome, is over-diagnosed, whereas other causes that are...read more »
Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the "good" bacteria in the gut. This leads to...read more »
Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, it's more likely to be...read more »
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Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety of...read more »
Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often in child patients than in adults. Some of the overlooked conditions may include ...read more »
Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, or GERD...read more »
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Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible
causes of Acute pancreatitis as a symptom include:
The list below shows some of the causes of Acute pancreatitis mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Acute pancreatitis. Of the 78 causes of Acute pancreatitis that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Acute pancreatitis' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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The following list of medical conditions have Acute pancreatitis or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Acute pancreatitis based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Medical Conditions associated with Acute pancreatitis:
Pancreas symptoms (271 causes), Upper abdominal symptoms (2707 causes), Abdominal symptoms (5930 causes), Digestive system symptoms (5299 causes), Inflammatory symptoms (1736 causes), Infection-related symptoms (1293 causes)
Symptoms related to Acute pancreatitis:
Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:
These general medical articles may be of interest:
Medical research papers related to Acute pancreatitis include:
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