Symptoms of pancreas problems, or pancreatitis, are fever, increased heart rate, a swollen and tender abdomen, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Chronic pancreatitis symptoms also include diabetes and weight loss, states WebMD.
The pancreas is responsible for supplying the small intestine with enzymes for food digestion and releases glucagon and insulin into the blood for helping control how the body uses food. Inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, is either chronic or acute, according to WebMD.
Acute pancreatitis is a short period of inflammation ranging from mild to life-threatening. Life-threatening acute pancreatitis can result in tissue damage, bleeding into the gland, infection, cyst formation and damage to other organs, such as the kidneys, lungs and heart, explains WebMD. Pancreatitis is caused by gallstones, medications, infections, heavy alcohol use, trauma, surgery and metabolic disorders; about 30 percent of those diagnosed with acute pancreatitis have unknown causes. Total recovery usually takes place after treatment.
Chronic pancreatitis is a long-term inflammation, occurring right after a bout with acute pancreatitis. About 45 percent of the cases of chronic pancreatitis are caused by heavy alcohol consumption. Other causes include gallstones, cystic fibrosis, heredity, medications and high triglycerides. Almost 25 percent of those diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis do not know the cause. A patient may be asymptomatic for years but suddenly experience severe symptoms, reports WebMD.