Pancreas: functions, products, diseases and treatment

The pancreas is a palm-sized gland located behind the stomach. It plays a vital role in both digestion and blood sugar regulation.

Functions of the pancreas:

  • Production of digestive enzymes: The pancreas produces enzymes that help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. These enzymes travel to the small intestine where they are mixed with food.
  • Insulin production: The pancreas also produces insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin helps the body’s cells absorb sugar from the blood.

Foods needed for better pancreatic function:

  • Fruits and vegetables: rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre that are essential for pancreatic health.
  • Whole grains: rich in fibre which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Lean proteins: fish, chicken and legumes, are good sources of protein which is essential for pancreatic health.
  • Healthy fats: olive oil, avocados and nuts.

Pancreatic diseases:

  • Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic.
  • Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly.
  • Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumour that develops in the pancreas.

Treatment of pancreatic diseases:

  • Treatment of pancreatitis depends on the cause and severity of the disease.
  • Treatment of diabetes depends on the type of disease.
  • Treatment of pancreatic cancer depends on the stage of the disease and the general health of the patient.

Prevention of pancreatic diseases:

  • A healthy diet is the key to pancreatic health.
  • Regular physical activity
  • Smoking increases the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: excessive alcohol consumption can lead to pancreatitis.

The pancreas is a vital organ that plays an important role in digestion and blood sugar regulation.

It is important to take care of the health of the pancreas:

  • By eating a healthy diet, by exercising, avoiding bad habits.

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. It is a common disease in humans.

There are two main types of pancreatitis:

  • Acute pancreatitis is a sudden and severe inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Chronic pancreatitis is a long-term inflammation of the pancreas that leads to scarring and loss of function.

Causes of acute pancreatitis:

  • Gallstone disease is the most common cause of acute pancreatitis. Gallstones in the gallbladder can block the pancreatic ducts, leading to inflammation.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to pancreatitis.
  • Other causes of acute pancreatitis may include injury, infection, certain medications, and hereditary factors.

Treatment for acute pancreatitis usually includes hospitalisation, painkillers, intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

Causes of chronic pancreatitis:

  • Chronic alcohol consumption is the most common cause of chronic pancreatitis.
  • Gallstone disease can also lead to chronic pancreatitis.
  • Other causes of chronic pancreatitis may include autoimmune diseases, hereditary factors, certain medications, and cystic fibrosis.

Treatment for chronic pancreatitis depends on the cause. A person does not recover completely, the attack is dulled, the pain is reduced. If the patient listens to the doctor’s recommendations, then chronic pancreatitis will not bother much. Strong health to you!