Is There a Relationship Between Chronic Pancreatitis and Alcohol Abuse?


Quick Answer

Chronic pancreatitis, which is a slowly developing disease, is linked to alcohol abuse as well as chronic smoking, states the American Gastroenterological Association. Chronic pancreatitis results from a scarred pancreas, which can be a source of abdominal pain, and it can be associated with diabetes mellitus.

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Full Answer

While acute pancreatitis can have a number of causes, some of which are unknown, most cases are due to either the development of gallstones or excessive alcohol consumption, WebMD reports. Approximately 45 percent of patients diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis are long-term alcohol users. Other causes of chronic pancreatitis include cystic fibrosis and high triglycerides. Chronic pancreatitis is diagnosed in both men and women but usually affects men between 30 and 40 years of age.

Pain is the most typical sign of acute pancreatitis, states eMedicineHealth. Pain is usually located in the upper left or upper middle sections of the abdomen, and it can be a gradual, increasing pain or a very sharp and severe pain that occurs suddenly. Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis, however, may not include pain for some patients, although patients who do experience pain may find that it is constant or unrelenting. Common symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include anemia, weight loss, the development of diabetes and jaundice, which also indicates liver disease.

Treatment for chronic pancreatitis includes avoidance of alcohol, administration of pancreatic enzymes to help with digestion and insulin injections if the patient has developed insulin insufficiency, explains eMedicineHealth.

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