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Acute Pancreatitis vs. Chronic Pancreatitis: What’s The Difference?

We’ve all heard about our pancreas before, but do you actually know what it does? Our pancreas is actually a large gland that sits behind the stomach. It plays an important role in our digestive process. It’s two main jobs releasing digestive enzymes into the intestine that help our body digest food and releasing hormones that regulate glucose in the blood and how our body uses food for energy. No big deal or anything!

Unfortunately, it’s not immune to illness and while it’s an incredible organ, it’s also very delicate. One of the biggest threats against the pancreas (in addition to pancreatic cancer) is pancreatitis. This condition causes the pancreas to become inflamed. “Pancreatic damage happens when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are released into the small intestine and began attacking the pancreas,” writes WebMD.

There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. To learn more about this condition, let’s take a look at the differences and similarities between these two conditions…

1. Acute Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is a condition that causes the pancreas to become inflamed. This inflammation often lasts a short period of time. It causes pain that can range from either mild to severe discomfort and even lead to life threatening illness, says WebMD. While most people with acute pancreatitis recover shortly after receiving treatment, there are severe cases that “can result in bleeding into the gland, serious tissue damage, infection, and cyst formation.” If the condition is not treated, it could due serious harm to other vital organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

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