What is the Pancreas?

The pancreas is a glandular organ in the digestive system and endocrine system of vertebrates. It is both an endocrine gland producing several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide, and a digestive organ, secreting pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes that assist the absorption of nutrients and the digestion in the small intestine. These enzymes help to further break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids in the chyme.

Diseases related to Pancreas

A puncture of the pancreas, which may lead to the secretion of digestive enzymes such as lipase and amylase into the abdominal cavity as well as subsequent pancreatic self-digestion and digestion and damage to organs within the abdomen, generally requires prompt and experienced medical intervention.

Pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas. A variety of factors cause a high pressure within pancreatic ducts. Pancreatic duct rupture, and pancreatic juice leakage causes a pancreatic self-digestion. Therefore, pancreatitis occurs. Gallstone and alcohol are the two most common causes for the pancreatitis.

Pancreatic Cancers, particularly cancer of the exocrine pancreas, remain one of the most deadly cancers, and the mortality rate is very high. Pancreatic endocrine tumors are rare. Representative: insulinoma (95% benign, 5% malignant), gastrinomas (malignant).

Diabetes mellitus type 1 (Also known as Juvenile Diabetes) is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. This causes the patient’s blood sugar levels to rise to a dangerous level. To correct this, the patient must take 3+ insulin shots per day. There may be also some correlations between diabetes, chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Diabetes mellitus type 2 is more common among overweight adults, but has been seen in children also. Unlike Type 1, it can be permanently corrected with weight loss and medicine.

It is possible for one to live without a pancreas, provided that the patient takes insulin for proper regulation of blood glucose concentration and pancreatic enzyme supplements to aid digestion.