The human body is often a mystery not only for its owner, but even for doctors. No wonder, after all – in addition to what is visible – it consists of many internal organs. Liver, kidneys, of course, the heart – they all play a very important role for us and can not be removed, and at most transplanted. The same applies to the pancreas. She is also indispensable to us and, like other “attributes” of our body, she must be helped. How to improve her work and strengthen her condition?
What is and what is the pancreas responsible for?
This is the organ located in the upper abdominal cavity. It is about 20 cm long and 5 wide. Proper functioning of the pancreas determine about 2% of its mass of cells called the Langerhans islands. They are scattered over its surface and are divided into three types:
- Alpha – glucagon production, control of sugars, proteins and fats;
- Beta – Insulin production, regulation of blood sugar level;
- Delta – Maintaining the correct concentration of glucagon and insulin, inhibiting their production, secretion of somatostatin.
Another function of the pancreas is primarily digestion. Every day, it produces from 1.2 to 3 liters of pancreatic juice, which contains alkaline fluid and digestive enzymes. These include trypsin, one of the protein-digesting enzymes, ribonuclease and deoxyribonuclease, decomposing nucleic acids (DNA and RNA, contained in all cells). The fat digestion is mainly caused by pancreatic lipase, phospholipases A and B and esterases. Sugars digest glycotic enzymes (alpha-amylase).
Symptoms of problems with pancreas
This body can affect many different diseases. Most often, however, we deal with the occurrence of two of them – inflammation and cancerous changes. What shows their appearance?
The basic symptom of pancreatitis is stabbing pain in the upper abdomen. It can radiate from the back and not miss even a few days. When pain attacks occur in the early stages of the disease, it is not known whether this is an acute form of the disease or deterioration of the condition resulting from chronic inflammation of the organ. It must be added that alcohol damage to the pancreas may not show any symptoms for many years until sudden attacks of severe pain occur. In acute pancreatitis, very acute pain appears without any previous signs, which allows us to state that the enzymes begin to digest their own protein and fats. In addition to epigastric pain, there is also fever and jaundice. The patient has nausea, vomiting, pain in the muscles, accelerates his heart rate and lowers pressure. The body also dehydrates quickly. Sometimes also bleeding and infections.
Pancreatitis may develop into a chronic form without episodes of an acute form of the disease. In the case of chronic pancreatitis, the light of pancreatic vesicles and tubes increases. They are successively filled with a substance that clogs their interior. The bubbles undergo fibrosis and the organ’s function stops. In this form of inflammation the pain does not pass even for a moment, and its intensity prevents the patient from living normally. When the pancreas stops producing enzymes, the pain sometimes disappears. Patients with chronic pancreatitis lose weight despite a good appetite, often suffer from diarrhea and vomiting. The effect of the disease can be serious dehydration of the body, slight yellowing of the skin and eyeballs or diabetes, because the impaired pancreas does not produce insulin.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the more frequent in terms of morbidity (10th place in women and 9th in men among all cancers) and mortality (5th place in women and 6th in men in terms of the number of cancer deaths). Apart from it, similar diseases are distinguished – the growth of cells secreting pancreatic hormones. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include appetite disorders, abdominal pain, nausea, bloating and vomiting.
How to support pancreas?
Pancreatic cancer is more common in smokers (it is thought that up to 25% of cases of this cancer is associated with smoking) and in those suffering from obesity, diabetes and chronic pancreatitis, as well as BRCA2 gene carriers. Over 50% of cases of chronic and almost 20% of acute pancreatitis cause alcohol abuse. In order to stay healthy, it is good to quit these drugs.
It is also important diet and supplementation rich in products that contain a lot of fiber, vitamin C (including citrus, apples, peppers, wild rose, potatoes, currants, green leafy vegetables), as well as unsaturated fatty acids (fish, natural vegetable oils) ).
Both as part of treatment and prophylaxis, it is worth reaching for supplements with fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). Symptoms of pancreatic ailments lead to the development of deficiencies of calcium, iron and potassium, which must be supplemented. Similarly to B vitamins, which rinses alcohol often consumed by people suffering from pancreas. You can also consider taking antioxidants.
Man is a delicate construction. When an organ falls ill, the whole structure wobbles. So be careful with yourself.