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Pancreatitis Symptoms & Diagnosis


Symptoms include:

  • Severe pain in the center of the upper abdomen that:
    • Sometimes spreads into the upper back
    • Is often made worse by eating, walking, or lying down on your back
    • Is less severe in chronic pancreatitis, with a gradual onset that may be tolerable for weeks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Shock —a severe change in the body's vital processes (eg, rapid but weak pulse, rapid and shallow respiration, and low blood pressure) (in severe, acute cases)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Symptoms of diabetes :
    • Increased thirst
    • Increased urination
    • Fatigue

Severe Pancreatitis

Severe Pancreatitis
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The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. There will be specific questions about how much alcohol you drink and what medications you take.

Other tests may include:

  • Blood tests—to measure levels of certain digestive enzymes and check for biliary obstruction and complications of pancreatitis (eg, diabetes, kidney failure , infection)
  • Abdominal ultrasound or abdominal CT scan —to look for gallstones and determine the extent of pancreatic inflammation
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)—a radiology test ( MRI ) that looks at the pancreas, pancreatic duct, and nearby bile ducts
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) —a lighted instrument passed through the mouth and into the pancreatic ducts to examine the damage from pancreatitis and diagnose ailments related to the pancreatic and biliary ducts

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2018 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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