What Happens If the Pancreas Shuts Down?

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According to WebMD a pancreas that has ceased to function properly will result in a swollen abdomen, severe abdominal pain, fever, increased heart rate, weight loss, nausea and the onset of diabetes. The pancreas is crucial to proper digestion and metabolism of nutrients, and a non-functional pancreas can put a person’s life at risk.

As stated by WebMD, the pancreas, located behind the stomach and next to the duodenum, is responsible for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fat through the release of powerful digestive enzymes, as well as for the proper metabolism and use of blood sugars through the release of insulin and glucagon. If a person’s pancreas fails to produce insulin, he will develop diabetes. If a person’s pancreas fails to produce the necessary digestive enzymes, he will be unable to properly digest food. Both conditions, if not addressed, can result in death.

As WebMD explains, inflammation and malfunction of the pancreas is known as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be caused by gallstones, infections, drug interactions, trauma, metabolic disorders or alcohol abuse. The symptoms of pancreatitis may range from minor stomach pain in mild cases to debilitating pain, diabetes, drastic weight loss and death in chronic cases. If a person feels he may be experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, he should contact a physician immediately.