Abdominal pain is the top sign of pancreatitis, while jaundice is likely to be the first symptom of pancreatic cancer. Whichever sign you notice first, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with the exceptional doctors at Illinois Gastroenterology Group. Early treatment prevents serious complications of pancreatitis and saves your life if the problem is cancer. To get expert care for pancreas disease, call one of the offices in Oak Lawn, Oakbrook Terrace, and Palos Heights, Illinois, or schedule an appointment online.
Your pancreas is located behind your stomach, where it fills two key roles. Exocrine cells in the pancreas produce digestive enzymes that are released into the small intestine to break down food during digestion.
The pancreas also has endocrine cells that produce the hormones glucagon and insulin. Glucagon triggers the release of glucose into your bloodstream, while insulin does the opposite job. Insulin lowers blood sugar levels when they get higher than normal.
An inherited disease called cystic fibrosis can affect cells in the pancreas and lead to a deficiency of digestive enzymes. However, the primary pancreatic diseases are pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, occurs when potent digestive enzymes become activated while they’re still in the pancreas. You may develop acute or chronic pancreatitis. Both types are typically caused by gallstones or alcohol use. However, pancreatitis also develops due to high blood triglycerides, injury, infection, pancreatic cancer, and autoimmune disease.
Acute and chronic pancreatitis lead to different symptoms:
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma accounts for about 95% of all pancreatic cancers. This type of cancer starts in the pancreatic ducts or less commonly, in the cells that produce pancreatic enzymes.
You can also develop several types of noncancerous pancreatic tumors. Some are slow-growing and don’t require treatment, while others are removed because they can become cancerous.
Pancreatic cancer causes symptoms such as:
Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms in the early stage, so it’s important to get an examination at the first sign of jaundice.
To schedule an appointment for expert treatment of pancreas diseases, call Illinois Gastroenterology Group or use the online booking feature.