The pancreas, an essential part of the body, is a tapered gland organ that extends horizontally. It is about six to eight inches long. It is located in the abdomen. The large part of the pancreas, also known as the head, is located on the right side of the abdomen. Here, the stomach attaches to the first part of the small intestine known as the duodenum.
Functions of Pancreas
The pancreas is responsible for producing the correct chemicals required for digestion, in the proper quantities, and at the right times. The functions of the pancreas are:-
The endocrine component of the pancreas consists of islet cells that are responsible for creating and releasing hormones into the bloodstream. The two main pancreatic hormones are-
- Insulin, responsible for lowering blood sugar
- Glucagon, responsible for raising blood sugar
The pancreas contains exocrine glands. These glands produce enzymes like trypsin, chymotrypsin, and also amylase. These are important to digestion. Pancreas also produces enzymes such as lipase to break down fats. These enzymes are also helpful for the digestion of nutrients such as protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
Diabetes (Type 1 & Type 2)
Diabetes occurs if the pancreatic beta cells do not produce enough insulin or the body can’t use the insulin produced by the pancreas. It also leads to health conditions such as gastroparesis (a condition that affects digestion).
If the pancreas does not produce enough insulin and you have a meal that is high in carbohydrates, your sugar may rise, leading to symptoms such as frequent hunger pangs and weight loss. If not given due attention, it can lead to further complications for the heart and kidney.
This is divided into three types. The treatment of each of these depends on the severity of symptoms:-
The Symptoms (more or less the same for Acute and Chronic Pancreatitis) include several health conditions such as:
- Persistent pain in the upper abdomen and back
- Weight loss
- Mild jaundice
Acute pancreatitis is often very sudden. The inflammation usually clears up within several days of treatment. This is more common in adults due to gallstones.
This can escalate and become chronic pancreatitis, especially if you adopt ill habits such as smoking and also regular alcohol consumption.
This condition can develop if acute pancreatitis is frequent. This can lead to permanent damage. The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is due to the overdose of alcohol. It is most common in middle-aged men.
This is an extreme complication when Acute pancreatitis is not given due attention. This result due to various reasons such as:-
- Injury to the pancreas
- Side-effects of certain medicines
- Pancreatic tumour
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
- High cholesterol levels
- High calcium levels in the blood
Pancreatic cancer causes due to ill habits such as smoking, long-term diabetes, and chronic pancreatitis.
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer-
- Abdominal pain that radiates to the back
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Eyes and skin getting pale (jaundice)
- Light-coloured stool and dark-coloured urine
- Itchy skin
- Blood clots
Home remedies to Keep Pancreas healthy
It is essential to keep the pancreas healthy to keep away the conditions associated with pancreas dysfunction. To ensure healthy pancreas, the following steps can be taken:-
- Consume a low-fat diet: Intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, especially broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage, can keep the pancreas healthy. Avoid eating fried foods or dairy products that are high in fats.
- Consume Ginseng: It is a herb that increases your immunity against external elements in the body. This herb also helps to keep the pancreas healthy.
- Consume Green tea: To overcome problems in the pancreas and treat them, consume green tea regularly. The elements in green tea also help to stop the cancerous cells from multiplying.
- Lose weight: Shed extra pounds. Regular exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day can maintain a healthy weight. It also helps to prevent diabetes mellitus and gallstones. These are the major causes of pancreatitis. Exercising regularly also improve overall physical health.
- Avoid diet plans for quick weight loss: Your liver may accumulate too much fat when you follow these extreme weight-loss diet plans. These increase your risk of developing gallstones.
- Say NO to alcohol and tobacco: Alcohol increases your risk of pancreatitis. Tobacco also increases the risk of cancer throughout the body including the pancreas.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking is injurious to health for several reasons. It also harms the pancreas and leads to pancreatic cancer as well.
- Get Regular Check-up: If you’re at higher risk, get your pancreas screened regularly for cancer. This would help you in diagnosis before the cancerous cells multiply and spread.