Pancreatitis and Alcohol: What You Need to Know
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What Is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis generally has two types:
acute and chronic. Inflammation of
the pancreas that only happens for
short periods of time is referred to as
acute pancreatitis. Most of the time,
this is due to gallstones or heavy
alcohol use. Other causes may
surgery, and trauma. In up to 15% of
cases, the cause is unknown.
Signs and symptoms may range from
mild to severe. Most patients with
acute pancreatitis recover completely
In severe cases, this can result in
bleeding, cyst formation, infection,
and tissue damage. Severe cases
may also damage other organs like
the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Chronic pancreatitis, on the other hand,
often results from the long-term effects
of alcohol on the pancreas. With this type,
there is long-lasting inflammation. In
approximately 70% of cases, heavy and
long-term alcohol drinking is the cause.
Cystic fibrosis, high triglyceride levels,
gallstones, and medications may also be
Symptoms may occur suddenly or after
How Does Alcohol Cause Pancreatitis?
There are some positive effects of
that cannot be
denied. People use them for recreation,
in religious practice, cooking, and to
feel relaxed and calm. However, it does
not do any good for the pancreas when
taken in excessive amounts on a
Pancreatitis from alcohol use can be
painful and fatal. Approximately one-
third of acute pancreatitis cases in the
US are alcohol-induced.
Despite years of studies, the connection
that explains how alcohol may cause
pancreatitis remains elusive. Not much
is known about the earliest alcohol
effect on the pancreas, and obtaining
tissue for examination is quite difficult
since it is difficult to access, especially
considering its position in the abdomen.
clearly show a connection between