Acute and Chronic Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large, flat gland located in the upper abdomen, between the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. The pancreas produces enzymes that flow through the pancreatic duct and combine with bile to aid in the digestion of food. The pancreas also produces insulin and glucagon to help regulate blood sugar levels. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the enzymes it produces become active and attack it, damaging the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be either an acute or chronic condition causing mild to severe symptoms. Both forms of pancreatitis may lead to complications. Severe cases of pancreatitis may cause permanent damage to the tissue. Pancreatitis is more likely to occur in men than women.