Pancreatic Disease

Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland

Gastroenterologists located in New City, NY

An estimated 220,000 people in the United States develop pancreatitis in a year, while more than 37,000 are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. To protect your health and prevent serious medical complications, the board-certified team of gastroenterologists at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland in New City, New York, offer comprehensive care for pancreatic disease. Learn more about on-site diagnostics and treatments for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer by calling the office or by requesting a consultation online.

Pancreatic Disease Q & A

What is pancreatic disease?

Several diseases can affect the health of your pancreas, a gland in your abdomen that produces enzymes to help you digest your food. When there’s dysfunction in your pancreas, you can develop conditions like:

Acute pancreatitis

A sudden inflammation in the pancreas due to acute pancreatitis can lead to severe pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and bloating.

The most common causes of this condition are gallstones, trauma, infections, and hormonal abnormalities.

Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive disease that leads to the destruction of the pancreas. Symptoms are similar to acute pancreatitis but can worsen over time and lead to weight loss and complications of malnutrition.

This condition is often the result of chronic alcohol consumption and can also develop due to hereditary disorders or for no apparent reason.

Hereditary pancreatitis

Hereditary pancreatitis results from inherited disorders of the pancreas or intestines, usually affecting people under 30. Cystic fibrosis can be a cause of hereditary pancreatitis.

This condition is progressive and may lead to permanent health issues, like chronic pain, malnutrition, and diabetes.

Pancreatic cancer

As the fourth-most common type of cancer, pancreatic cancer is very aggressive and typically resistant to cancer treatments, like radiation and chemotherapy. A hallmark symptom of pancreatic cancer is jaundice, a yellowish skin discoloration.

How is pancreatic disease diagnosed?

Pancreatic disease can be difficult to diagnose because of the location of the pancreas. However, the expert medical team at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland offers on-site diagnostics to confirm the cause of symptoms relating to pancreatic disease.

Initially, you may need blood work to evaluate enzyme levels of the pancreas. You may also need imaging tests, like CT scans or an ultrasound, to identify inflammation or gallstones.

Endoscopic ultrasounds are available on-site to evaluate your pancreatic and bile ducts for inflammation and obstructions.

What treatments are available for pancreatic disease?

Your initial treatment may involve avoiding solid foods for several days to give your pancreas time to heal. 

Over-the-counter medications can keep you comfortable and pain-free, and you may need a hospital stay for intravenous fluid to keep you hydrated, or if you need a feeding tube to get proper nutrition.

Treating your condition depends on the severity of your symptoms. Ultimately, you may need surgery to alleviate pain caused by gallstones. 

If you have obstructions in your bile or pancreatic duct, you may benefit from endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a minimally invasive procedure that uses a long tube to clear duct blockages.

Pancreatic cancer may also require surgery to remove cancerous tissue in the earliest stage of the disease.

If you need a diagnosis for potential pancreatic issues, schedule a consultation without delay. You can call the office or book an appointment online today.