Inflammation of the pancreas, associated with alcohol, trauma, or pancreatic-duct obstruction. Activated enzymes escaping into pancreatic tissues cause irritation and inflammation. If it does not subside, bleeding, tissue death and scarring, pus formation, and infection may occur. Symptoms include severe pain (worst when lying on the back), low fever, nausea, and hypertension. Acute cases are treated by controlling pain, preventing or relieving shock, inhibiting pancreatic-juice secretion (including eliminating oral intake of food), avoiding infection, and replacing lost fluids and salts. Chronic pancreatitis can destroy enough of the pancreas to cause pancreatic-juice deficiency and diabetes mellitus. Treatment may include a low-fat diet, avoiding overeating and alcohol, pancreatic extracts, and insulin.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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