What is Chronic Pancreatitis?

Chronic Pancreatitis is a persistent inflammation of the pancreas which disables it from functioning normally as its structure gets altered. It is caused by excess alcohol consumption, or it may be hereditary too. It may also occur due to cystic fibrosis, trauma, protein defects, hypocalcaemia, calcified stones or nutritional reasons.

Is Chronic Pancreatitis a serious problem?

Chronic Pancreatitis is a serious problem. There is a periodic pain which debilitates the system. The condition leads to malnutrition and non-absorption of protein resulting in weight loss. Pancreas helps in the digestion of protein and carbohydrates and fats. When the pancreas does not function smoothly, it may result in diabetes and genetic mutation. It also results in inadequate digestion of food, greasy stools and a feeling of being unwell. This becomes a serious problem.

What are the variations in the disease?

There is only one type of Chronic Pancreatitis. But there are different causes. The treatment varies according to the consequences of low pancreatic function. Insulin related diabetes mellitus occurs or it may result in abdominal pain, psychological mood swings and disabilities related to pancreatic dysfunction.

What are the causes of Chronic Pancreatitis?

Pancreas produces enzymes which breaks down the food ingested. When it reduces or stops production of the enzymes is when the problems occur. Pancreatitis which is caused by low absorption of fat causes abdominal pain. Pancreatitis with low insulin causes diabetes.

Which consultant should I consult if I have Chronic Pancreatitis?

For Chronic Pancreatitis, one should consult a General Physician in the case of adults and children.

Can Chronic Pancreatitis be cured?

Chronic Pancreatitis is curable, but the cure is a slow process involving long term therapy. The cure is based on the underlying cause; analgesics therapy is recommended for severe cases. Better nutritional habits prevent the disease. Mood swings, smoking cause discomfort. Surgery is also done for resection (part removal) of the pancreas.

Is Chronic Pancreatitis infectious?

Chronic Pancreatitis is not infectious. It is not spread by person to person contact.

Can it affect me permanently?

Chronic Pancreatitis affects an individual permanently if the case is too severe. In the early stages Chronic Pancreatitis is quite curable. But the underlying cause, to some extent determines whether Chronic Pancreatitis has a permanent effect. Insulin related Pancreatitis results in diabetes which affects the individual permanently. Insulin therapy requires permanent medication.

What are the foods to take and what to avoid when affected with Chronic Pancreatitis?

Here are some eatables you should include in your diet:

  • Yogurt is an important food for Chronic Pancreatitis and it raises immunity

  • Vegetable soup has high antioxidants

  • Spinach makes for an excellent choice as it contains high iron levels

  • Blueberries, red grapes and red wine are good for Pancreatitis

  • Red wine or red grapes contain an antioxidant called resveratrol and are good for Pancreatitis

  • Foods high in B-vitamins such as, whole grains, sea vegetables, and dark leafy greens

  • Lean meat cuts and tofu is a good substitute for meat

  • Increase your intake of fluids. Drink plenty of water and juices

Foods to avoid

  • Avoid refined foods such as pastas, sugar, and white bread

  • Avoid red meats, if possible

  • Avoid margarine and foods that contain trans fats, such as commercially made cakes, cookies, and doughnuts

  • If you are susceptible to Pancreatitis avoid alcohol

  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee and tea

  • Pizza, beans, cheeses, fried foods, butter, and eggs should be avoided

  • You should also avoid stimulants such as cigarettes

  • Also, drink lots of water and have a number of small meals during the day instead of three large meals with a diet plan

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