Pancreatitis is a condition that affects the pancreas, a gland that is located in the upper abdomen behind the stomach. The pancreas is responsible for secreting enzymes and hormones needed for digestion and how the body uses sugar. Pancreatitis is a painful condition that causes inflammation in the pancreas. It can affect people at any age. Knowing more about it could help you to identify the condition in your aging relative and make certain they get the medical help they need.
What Causes Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis occurs when enzymes it produces activate while they are still inside the pancreas. This irritates the cells of the gland and causes it to become inflamed. Pancreatitis is often recurring, which damages the gland. Scar tissue may form in the pancreas, making it function poorly. This can result in digestive problems and even diabetes.
Pancreatitis can be caused by several conditions, including:
- Surgery on the abdomen.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Excess calcium in the blood.
- High triglycerides.
- Abdominal injury.
- Pancreatic cancer.
- Some medications.
There are some things that make it more likely that your aging relative will get pancreatitis. These are called risk factors. Some risk factors for pancreatitis are:
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- A family history of pancreatitis.
What Are the Symptoms of Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis is when the condition happens suddenly and lasts over a period of days. People with chronic pancreatitis have the condition over many years.
The symptoms of acute pancreatitis may include:
- Pain in the upper part of the abdomen. The pain may spread into the back or feel worse after the senior eats.
- A fast pulse.
- Tenderness when the abdomen is touched.
Signs that an older adult has chronic pancreatitis includes:
- Pain in the upper part of the abdomen.
- Weight loss that occurs without trying.
- Stools that appear oily and smell bad.
If your older family member is diagnosed with pancreatitis, elderly care can help them to manage the condition and be more comfortable. Elderly care providers can remind the older adult to take medications used to treat the condition. Elderly care providers can also prepare low fat meals, which are recommended for people dealing with pancreatitis. Meals should focus on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains instead. Another thing that can help with pancreatitis is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Elderly care providers can make sure the senior drinks more by keeping a glass or bottle of water near them at all times.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elderly care in Plymouth, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.