The pancreas is one of the most major organs of the body. If it does not function properly, serious medical conditions can result. The unique thing about this organ is that it performs both exocrine and endocrine functions, meaning it is responsible for the production of enzymes for metabolic reactions and hormones for the management of glucose in the body.
Did you know that diabetes can occur when your pancreas is not functioning inadequately? What’s more, many of the metabolic concerns you may be going through are because the pancreas is not making enough of those digestive juices. Here is all you need to know about the pancreas and the various hormonal disorders it can cause.
Pancreas -The Basics
The pancreas is the only organ in the body that work for both the endocrine and exocrine systems. The pancreas makes the hormones insulin and glucagon for the production and storage of glucose, but also secretes digestive enzymes to regulate the metabolic system.
Even though 90% of the pancreatic cells are busy facilitating the metabolic system, 10% of the remaining cells play an extremely significant part in making sure that blood sugar remains stabilized at all times.
Major hormones that the pancreas secrete are:
- Insulin: This is the hormone that is responsible for the regulation of glucose in the blood. Insulin absorbs the excess glucose, making sure that levels are normalized in the blood after intake of food or drink.
- Glucagon: This hormone releases glucose in the blood stream when the levels become too low. It is like anti-insulin and works in the opposite way.
- Somatostatin: This hormone is responsible for the management of salt in the blood stream. It also inhibits the production of insulin and glucagon.
- Gastrin: This hormone helps with digestion.
- Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP): This hormone is responsible for water loss from the body. It does this by releasing water and salts in the intestines.
If any of the above mentioned hormones are produced inadequately or in excessive amounts, then some kind of pancreatic dysfunction or imbalance takes place. Here are all the things that can go wrong with your pancreas.
Out of all the pancreatic disorders, diabetes is the most common. It takes place due to problems with the hormone insulin. Below you will find all the information about diabetes and other pancreatic hormonel disorders and what you can do about them.
When the pancreas become inflamed, it leads to a condition known as pancreatitis. This happens when the digestive enzymes start eating the pancreas itself. The condition can be acute or chronic depending on the severity of the condition. These are both serious issues that need immediate medical attention.
Acute pancreatitis is when the condition takes place suddenly and heals up quickly when treatment is started. The problem occurs when a person has gallstones. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, vomiting and feelings of constant nausea. Treatment is simple enough with the patient given antibiotics, intravenous fluids and some medication for the abdominal pain.
Chronic pancreatitis is when the condition refuses to heal or get better with treatment. Once diagnosed, the patient has deteriorating health. For most people, chronic pancreatitis takes place due to excessive use of alcohol. Some other reasons why the disease occurs include hereditary causes such as cystic fibrosis, autoimmune diseases, high amounts of calcium or fats in blood, or even some medications.
Treatment includes hospitalization with nutritional support, medication for pain and fluids given through IV. Even after that, some enzymes are given that need to be taken for healing to occur.
2. Diabetes Type I & II
Diabetes is becoming one of the most commonly occurring diseases related to blood sugar. It is divided into two types, diabetes type I and II. When the pancreas produce no insulin in the body, then you would be suffering from diabetes type I. This problem mostly happen to children and young adults. It isn’t very common, but the patients need to take insulin shots in order to manage the condition. It is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system attack and destroy the cells which release insulin in the body.
Symptoms include, feelings of extreme thirst, frequent need for urination, dry mouth and fruity breath. If the condition remains unchecked and is not treated, it could become fatal. Treatment is for a lifetime where the patient needs to take insulin in order to manage their blood glucose levels.
Type II diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce enough amounts of insulin in order to meet the needs of the body or the body becomes resistant to insulin. The worse the condition gets, the less amount of insulin is made by the pancreas. It is more common among women than men.
The condition may need medication for severe cases, but it can be managed with diet and lifestyle changes as well. The less a person weighs, the more their diabetes will remain under control. Common signs of the condition include frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, dry mouth, fatigue and headaches. This condition needs to be addressed immediately. Otherwise, it can lead to many other diseases like coronary heart problems, stroke, fatty liver disease and amputation of the limbs. If it gets too out of hand, diabetes can give way to death.
Another problem of the pancreatic hormones is hyperglycemia. This occurs when blood glucose levels get abnormally high. This happens when there is excessive production of the hormone glucagon. Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include fatigue, sugar in urine, headaches, increased hunger as well as thirst, and blurred vision. It can often be prevented by being aware of it and then making adjustments to diet.
The opposite of hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia takes place when the blood sugar gets too low. This happens due to overproduction of the hormone insulin. Common symptoms include anxiety, fatigue and sleepiness, nervousness, confusion, heart palpitations, hunger, dizziness and blurred vision.
This condition can be prevented when the patient is aware of what is going on. Once diagnosed it can be helped with changes in diet and lifestyle. Contact Health Solutions Plus, 716-773-4707, for some guidance and direction.
5. Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancers can occur because of some hereditary issues, chronic pancreatitis, smoking, or long-term diabetes. The problem with pancreatic cancer is that it is hard to diagnose because symptoms are vague. The tumor is not easily seen during routine exams or general physical exam.
If the cancer spreads, it becomes very difficult to treat and chances of survival are low. But if diagnosed early on, it can be treated with chemo, targeted therapy and radiation.
If you have been feeling any pains in the region of your pancreas or some of the symptoms mentioned above, get in touch with your health practitioner immediately. They will run some tests to see what you may be suffering from and once diagnosis is made, treatment could begin. Remember, the sooner a disease is detected, the more successful it can be managed.. So please do not ignore your symptoms. They are there to warn you of a problem.