5 Pancreatitis Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

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Unintended Weight Loss

If you’ve been losing weight without actually trying, don’t pat yourself on the back and thank an improved metabolism just yet. When weight loss is unintended, it could mean a number of much less healthy things—one of those things being pancreatitis.

The pancreas is a gland, located on the left side of the abdomen, behind the stomach and above the small intestine. It is responsible for making digestive enzymes and hormones that help process glucose. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, this results in a condition called pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis often comes on quickly, with more extreme symptoms in a shorter periods of time. While abnormal weight loss may be possible with it, this symptom is more often found in patients with long-standing, chronic pancreatitis. This is a progressive form of pancreatitis that gets steadily worse. 

 

It’s not uncommon for a loss of appetite to accompany pancreatitis, and this often plays a factor in unintended weight loss. Additionally, dealing with pancreatitis-induced vomiting and diarrhea can negatively impact your weight as well. If you are failing to get the necessary calories and carbohydrates to keep the body functioning, your body will eventually turn on itself and start taking fuel from wherever it can—including its own fat stores. If you haven’t been eating very well lately, make efforts to provide your body with more sustenance and see if things improve. 

However, even if you do still have your normal appetite, if pancreatitis has set in, it doesn’t matter how much food you take in. The enzymes made by the pancreas are necessary for proper digestion—when this isn’t happening normally, the vitamins and minerals in your food aren't being absorbed normally either. Eventually, this can actually cause serious malnutrition, even if you’re eating what would otherwise be a healthy amount of food for a person in your situation. 

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