Pancreas Disease Specialists

Illinois Gastroenterology Group -  - Gastroenterology

Illinois Gastroenterology Group

Gastroenterology located in Oak Lawn, Oakbrook Terrace & Palos Heights, IL

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.

Pancreas Disease Q & A

What Should I Know About the Pancreas?

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.

What Causes Pancreatitis?

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.

What Symptoms Develop Due to Pancreatitis?

Acute and chronic pancreatitis lead to different symptoms:

  • Acute Pancreatitis: Acute pancreatitis begins with sudden abdominal pain that’s often dull at first and then becomes more severe, possibly radiating to your back. Most patients also have fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Chronic Pancreatitis: While abdominal pain is also a top symptom for chronic pancreatitis, this disease develops so gradually that you won’t notice symptoms at first. As chronic pancreatitis progresses, your pain slowly gets worse. The pain may occur right after a meal, but it can also appear out of the blue. You’ll also have symptoms such as weight loss when you’re not trying to drop pounds, oily stools, and diarrhea.

What Should I Know About Pancreatic Cancer?

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:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin and eyes)
  • Dark urine
  • Oily stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting

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.