GI Education

Pancreas


The pancreas is the oblong gland behind your abdomen (between your stomach and spine). The pancreas helps produce juices that break down food and hormones to control blood sugar levels.

Common pancreas disorders

Cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes your mucus to be thick and sticky, clogging your lungs making it difficult to breathe. It affects your lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses and sex organs.

The symptoms and severity vary widely, some people have serious problems from birth while other have a milder version of the disease that doesn’t show up until they are teens or young adults. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, however treatments have greatly improved.

Pancreatic cancer
Cancer of the pancreas is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. It can be difficult to catch since symptoms do not show right away. When symptoms do appear its often yellowing of the skin and eyes, pain in the abdomen and back, weight loss and fatigue.
You are at higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer if you smoke, have long-term diabetes or chronic pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. It usually occurs suddenly and resolves within a few days after treatment. Common symptoms are swollen abdomen, nausea, vomiting, fever or a rapid pulse.

Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic. In severe cases, bleeding, infection, and permanent tissue damage may occur.

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