Your pancreas is a small organ that produces enzymes that help digest food and hormones that regulate blood sugar. There are many types of pancreatic disease that affect these functions and your health. The gastroenterology team at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A., with offices in Annapolis, Stevensville, Odenton, Bowie, and Pasadena, Maryland, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic disease. For comprehensive care from digestive disease experts, call the office closest to you or book an appointment online today.
Pancreatic disease includes any health condition that affects the structure or function of the pancreas.
Types of pancreatic disease include acute and chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. With acute pancreatitis, the inflammation occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and only lasts for a short period of time. When the inflammation resolves, your pancreas resumes its normal function.
Chronic pancreatitis means the inflammation is an ongoing problem. It occurs from repeated bouts of acute pancreatitis that scar and damage the tissue. With chronic pancreatitis, your pancreas can’t resume normal functioning and tissue damage worsens over time.
Pancreatic cancer occurs when you have abnormal pancreatic cells that grow at a rapid rate. An early diagnosis and treatment results in the best outcomes for pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic disease has a variety of symptoms that depend on the underlying problem.
Common symptoms of pancreatic disease include:
With chronic pancreatitis, you may also have oily, foul-smelling stool.
When you come in to see the experts at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, they thoroughly investigate your symptoms.
During your evaluation, your gastroenterologist reviews your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle factors that may affect the health of your pancreas, such as alcohol use and smoking.
They perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis. Testing may include blood work to check for an infection or anemia and measure blood sugar and pancreatic enzymes levels. They may also obtain diagnostic imaging such as X-rays, an ultrasound, an endoscopic ultrasound, or a CT scan.
The team at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates also performs endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which allows them to view your pancreas and the nearby structures.
Your gastroenterologist develops an individualized treatment plan for your pancreatic disease based on the type, the severity of your symptoms, and your overall health.
For acute pancreatitis, your gastroenterologist admits you to the hospital for care, which may include bowel rest, pain medication, and intravenous fluids.
For chronic pancreatitis, treatment includes diet modification, prescription pain medication, and oral digestive enzymes. Your gastroenterologist may also recommend surgery to remove the damaged portions of your pancreas.
For pancreatic cancer, treatment may include a combination of surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.
For expert care, call Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. or book an appointment online today.