Pancreatic insufficiency

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1. Overview

Pancreatic insufficiency occurs when the pancreas does not secrete enough chemicals and digestive enzymes for normal digestion to occur.

When pancreatic insufficiency is severe, the result may be malabsorption (inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestines), which can lead to deficiencies of essential nutrients and the stools will contain unabsorbed fat (steatorrhea).


1. Overview
2. Pancreatic insufficiency and other conditions
3. Pancreatitis>>3. Pancreatitis 4. Alcoholic chronic pancreatitis
5. Cystic fibrosis
6. Pancreatic cancer
7.Diet for pancreatic insufficiency

2. Pancreatic insufficiency and other conditions

Severe pancreatic insufficiency occurs in cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, and if portions of the stomach or pancreas are removed through surgery of the gastrointestinal tract.

To the development of pancreatic insufficiency may also contribute certain gastrointestinal diseases such as gastric ulcer, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and some autoimmune diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus). Mild pancreatic insufficiency is often difficult to diagnose and there is controversy among experts regarding the need for treatment in this case.

3. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that reduces body function, causing pancreatic insufficiency, malabsorption and diabetes.

Acute pancreatitis is usually a temporary condition and can be caused by gallstones, alcohol abuse, elevated triglycerides, abdominal injuries, and the ingestion of drugs or toxins.

Chronic pancreatitis is a slow process that occurs in gradual destruction of the pancreas. Most often it is caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

4. Alcoholic chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is a persistent inflammation of the pancreas that causes progressive damage, scarring and loss of organ function. Inflammation triggers swelling tubes of pancreas, responsible for transport of digestive enzymes, thus destroying the acinar cells (which produce digestive enzymes).

Pancreatic acinar cell loss is irreversible. Over time, as liver failure progresses, a growing number of acinar cells are lost.

Prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption is the leading cause of chronic pancreatitis. Most cases of pancreatitis acloolica develops after alcohol-induced acute pancreatitis crises manifested for quite some years.

5. Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition that causes the production of thick and abnormally sticky secretions. Cystic fibrosis affects the composition of pancreatic digestive fluids that flow through the pancreas no longer because of increased consistency.

Fatty fluids block the tubular transport system in the pancreas, causing inflammation and progressive degenerative changes similar to those seen in forms of chronic pancreatitis.

Pancreatic insufficiency usually worsen, leading to malnutrition accompanied by bulky and soft stools with a fatty texture and odor.

Children with cystic fibrosis often fail to go through the normal stages of growth as a result of nutritional deficiencies caused by pancreatic insufficiency.

6. Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer can cause pancreatic insufficiency. Most pancreatic cancers grow into the exocrine pancreas cells – not involved in the production and transport of digestive enzymes and fluids.

Cancerous pancreatic tumors or ductal adenocarcinomas can clog the pipe responsible with the secretion of digestive enzymes for the intestine, and the result will be pancreatic insufficiency.

Alternatively, cancer cells can invade normal acinar cells and result will be the disappearance of the latter. Often, both processes contribute to pancreatic insufficiency.

7.Diet for pancreatic insufficiency

- Fats – Fatty foods may contribute to steatorrhea, one of the main symptoms of pancreatic insufficiency. Steatorrhea refers to oily stools that are composed of high amounts of fat.

Eating a low-fat diet may reduce the amount of fat excreted in feces. Also, high levels of triglycerides in the blood may worsen inflammation in the body. It will consume low-fat milk and dairy products and avoid eating yogurt.

Although a high protein diet help reduce the symptoms of pancreatic insufficiency will opt for lean protein such as chicken, beans and tofu instead of meat and fat. Limit consumption of processed snacks.

- Alcohol is a common cause of pancreatitis. Acute form of the condition can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Eliminating alcohol from your diet can prevent chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic insufficiency that leads to other health complications.

- Fiber – A high fiber diet may be helpful to reduce symptoms. Fibers are recommended for a healthy life for most people. If a person suffers from abdominal pain and steatorrhea due to pancreatic insufficiency, he should reduce the amount of fiber consumed.

It will consume whole grains instead of refined grains and will seek medical help to determine which fruits and vegetables are recommended, depending on the severity and type of pancreatic insufficiency.

- Food supplements – A diet for pancreatitis insufficiency most likely will include a variety of dietary supplements, as people who have problems with pancreatic function may lose weight and may experience difficulty in absorption of vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy life.

Taking digestive enzymes during meals can be recommended for easier digestion of food and to reduce stomach pain and other symptoms.

Each patient should consult his physician regarding his diet supplementing with vitamin supplements, including essential antioxidants, namely vitamins A and C as antioxidants may reduce inflammation in the body and can improve including inflammation of the pancreas.



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