DefinitionThe pancreas is a long, flat, pear-shaped organ located behind the stomach. It makes digestive enzymes and hormones, including insulin. Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive inflammation of the pancreas marked by frequent acute attacks and risk of permanent organ damage.
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CausesChronic pancreatitis results from prolonged injury, toxic exposure, autoimmune disease, or obstruction of the pancreas.
Risk FactorsChronic pancreatitis is more common in men. Other factors that may increase your risk of chronic pancreatitis include:Personal health history, such as:
- Excess alcohol intake
- Recurrent attacks of acute pancreatitis
- Family history of:
- Hyperparathyroidism associated with chronic pancreatitis
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Chronic kidney disease
- Congenital conditions, such as pancreas divisum
- Ischemia—insufficient blood supply to the pancreas
- Hyperlipidemia —elevated blood fat levels
- Hypertriglyceridemia —elevated blood triglyceride levels
- Hypercalcemia —elevated blood calcium levels
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pseudocysts—build up of fluids and debris
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