What is chronic pancreatitis-associated diabetes?

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Note: This article is part of our library of resources for Forms of Diabetes.


What is chronic pancreatitis-associated diabetes?

Chronic pancreatitis-associated diabetes is caused by chronic pancreatitis, a prolonged inflammation of the pancreas, which causes extensive damage to exocrine tissue. When acute hyperglycemia develops, the islet cells of the organ become damaged and can no longer produce insulin, causing the person to become insulin dependent for life. According to the NHS, this occurs in around 50% of people with chronic pancreatitis (Diabetes.co.uk). In rare cases, if the pancreas is so severely damaged, parts of organ may need to be removed. Chronic pancreatitis may occur after an episode of acute pancreatitis.

What are symptoms chronic pancreatitis?

  • Acute upper abdominal pain radiating to the back
  • Swollen and tender abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sometimes weight loss

What causes chronic pancreatitis?

Anyone can get chronic pancreatitis, but it is more prevalent in people with these risk factors (WebMD):

  • Heavy alcohol drinking for a long time
  • Gallstones
  • Cystic fibrosis (hereditary)
  • Lupus and  triglycerides
  • Medications
  • Infections
  • Surgery
  • Trauma
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Cause is unknown (about 20-30% of cases)

Read After They Took My Pancreas by Wanda Morrow Clevenger.