Which Side Of Your Body Is The Pancreas Located – Your pancreas is a small pear-shaped gland, about the size of your fist. It is located in the back of your stomach, below the liver, and next to the small intestine. The pancreas plays an important role in keeping you healthy by helping you digest your food and maintain healthy blood sugar (glucose) levels. Learn more about your pancreas and conditions that can affect it.
Your pancreas produces enzymes that help you digest your food. These digestive enzymes travel from the pancreas and leave the small intestine—specifically the duodenum—through the pancreatic duct. This is the same place where bile from the liver enters the digestive system. Both help break down the fats in the food and drinks you consume.
- 1 Which Side Of Your Body Is The Pancreas Located
- 2 Human Digestive System
- 3 Pancreatitis Symptoms: Recognize Early Signs
- 3.1 Pancreatitis: How Drinking Too Much May Affect Your Health
- 3.2 Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (epi)
Which Side Of Your Body Is The Pancreas Located
The pancreas produces many hormones that influence appetite and metabolism. Chief among these are insulin and glucagon which work together to help control blood sugar (glucose) levels. When you consume sugar, the pancreas releases insulin to lower your blood sugar levels. Glucagon is released to raise blood sugar levels when they drop too low. These two hormones work together to maintain a consistently safe blood sugar level, regardless of what you consume. When your body can no longer control blood sugar levels, diabetes can occur. There are three types of diabetes.
Pancreas: Functions And Disorders
Over time, untreated high blood sugar levels from type 1 or type 2 diabetes, can damage organs and tissues and cause other health problems. It is important to manage your diabetes with diet, exercise, medication and insulin therapy according to your treatment plan. Researchers are also working on pancreas transplants.
Besides diabetes, your pancreas can be affected by other conditions or diseases including pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. It can be acute, meaning it comes on suddenly, or chronic, meaning it doesn’t go away and gets worse over time. Acute pancreatitis is usually caused by gallstones or excessive alcohol consumption. Severe cases can be life-threatening. Chronic pancreatitis can run in families, but it can also be caused by blockages in the duct where pancreatic enzymes leave the pancreas. It can also be triggered by very high triglyceride levels, or by an autoimmune response—when your body starts attacking the cells in the pancreas. People with chronic pancreatitis are advised to stop drinking alcohol to reduce the severity and slow the progression of the disease.
Pancreatic cancer is uncommon. It makes up about 3% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States, affecting about 57,000 people in the U.S. every year. Because there are no symptoms in its early stages, pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed in advanced stages, when it is more difficult to treat. Even when detected early, the 5-year survival rate, the number of people who survive five years after diagnosis, is only 34%.
Human Digestive System
The signs and symptoms of diabetes are related to persistently high blood sugar levels. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:
Symptoms for type 2 diabetes are similar, but may also include a tingling or pain in your feet or hands.
Chronic pancreatitis can cause similar abdominal pain, as well as unintended weight loss, and foul-smelling, slimy stools.
Not all conditions related to the pancreas are preventable, such as type 1 diabetes. However, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer by: maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet, reducing your intake of sugar and fat, and avoiding alcohol of alcohol in excess. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Pancreatitis Symptoms: Recognize Early Signs
Marijke Vroomen Durning, RN, has been writing health information for the past 20 years. She has extensive experience writing about health issues such as sepsis, cancer, mental health issues, and women’s health. He is also the author of the book Just the Right Dose: Your Smart Guide to Prescription Medications and How to Take them Safely.
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Pancreatitis: How Drinking Too Much May Affect Your Health
Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells in your pancreas mutate (change) and multiply out of control, forming a tumor. Your pancreas is a gland in your abdomen (belly), between your spine and stomach. It produces hormones that regulate blood sugar levels and enzymes that aid digestion.
Most pancreatic cancers start in the ducts of your pancreas. The main pancreatic duct (the duct of Wirsung) connects your pancreas to your common bile duct.
Early-stage pancreatic tumors do not show up on imaging tests. For this reason, many people do not receive a diagnosis until the cancer has spread (metastasized). Pancreatic cancer is also resistant to many common cancer drugs, making it notoriously difficult to treat.
Ongoing research focuses on early detection through genetic testing and new imaging techniques. However, there is still much to learn.
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Pancreatic cancer is responsible for approximately 3% of all cancers in the United States. It is the 10th most common cancer in men and people assigned male at birth, and the 8th most common cancer in women and people assigned female at birth.
Pancreatic cancer cases are on the rise. Trends indicate that pancreatic cancer will be the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States by 2030.
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Unfortunately, there aren’t any early signs of pancreatic cancer. Symptoms usually appear when the tumor begins to affect other organs in your digestive system.
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Your healthcare provider may suspect pancreatic cancer if you’ve recently had diabetes or pancreatitis — a painful condition caused by inflammation in your pancreas.
Symptoms of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer may be different from traditional pancreatic cancer symptoms, such as jaundice or weight loss. Symptoms can vary, but may include diarrhea and anemia.
There are no early signs of pancreatic cancer. Some people develop vague symptoms for up to a year before they receive a diagnosis.
Many people report that their first symptoms of pancreatic cancer are back pain or stomach pain. These symptoms may come and go at first, but may worsen after eating or when you lie down.
Childhood Hepatocellular Carcinoma
There is no clear answer. We do not know what causes pancreatic cancer. But experts have identified several risk factors.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a particular disease. Common risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:
Pancreatic cancer tends to spread (metastasize) to nearby blood vessels, lymph nodes, and then to your liver, peritoneum (the lining of your abdominal cavity) and lungs.
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect in the early stages. This is because health care providers can’t feel your pancreas during routine exams and it’s hard to see these tumors on routine imaging tests.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (epi)
A blood test of the pancreas can detect tumor markers. A tumor marker is a substance that can indicate the presence of cancer.
For pancreatic cancer, high levels of carbohydrate antigen (CA) 19-9 — a type of protein released by pancreatic cancer cells — can indicate a tumor.
During this procedure, a surgeon makes several small cuts (incisions) in your abdomen and inserts a long tube with a camera on the end. This allows them to see inside your abdomen and look for abnormalities. Often, they will take a biopsy in the same procedure.
If you have received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, you should consider genetic testing. It can tell you if there is a hereditary reason why you developed pancreatic cancer. It can also help your healthcare provider determine which type of treatment is most effective for you.
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If you are a first-degree relative (a parent, child or sibling) of someone with pancreatic cancer, you should consider genetic testing. Your results can tell you whether you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Remember, even if you have a mutation, it doesn’t mean you will get cancer. But knowing your risk is important.
If you have specific questions about the stage of pancreatic cancer, talk to your healthcare provider. Understanding your pancreatic cancer diagnosis can help you make informed decisions about your treatment.
Although pancreatic cancer has a poor survival rate, complete remission is possible with early detection and treatment. The only way to
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