Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. It may occur suddenly, in a severe form as in acute pancreatitis, or may continue as a slow, long drawn illness as in chronic pancreatitis.Anatomy and function of the Pancreas Anatomy -
Pancreas is an organ situated in the upper part of one’s abdomen. It is about 6 inches or 15 cms long and has a flattened bulbous head that is surrounded by part of the intestine called duodenum, a narrow body that lies behind the stomach and a tapered tail that rests on the front of the left kidney (see picture).
Physiology or Function-
Pancreas is one of the organs in the body that has both exocrine and endocrinal functions. Exocrine Function -
It secretes an alkaline juice with enzymes such as - amylase and lipase, which help digest the fat, protein as well as carbohydrates from the food that we eat. The alkaline juice and helps to neutralize the acid secretions of the stomach. It secretes about 1.5 liters of these juices in a day.
The enzymes are conveyed to the upper part of the small intestine called duodenum via a tube called the pancreatic duct.Endocrine Function
- It also secretes two important hormones namely - Insulin and Glucagon which are essential for regulation of glucose in the blood.
During an attack of pancreatitis, the juices are activated within the pancreatic gland and it begin to digest the pancreas itself causing inflammation, injury and necrosis resulting in an acutely inflammatory process that results in pancreatitis – so called pancreatic auto digestion. Where pancreas succumbs to its own digestive properties.