Alcohol abuse can be associated with a number of conditions and one of these is pancreatitis; an inflammation of the pancreas. Some heavy drinkers may suffer an episode of acute pancreatitis but if they alter their drinking habits they might never need to deal with the problem again. Others will have repeated episodes of acute pancreatitis which can eventually lead to the chronic disease process. In order to prevent the development of acute alcohol induced pancreatitis into a chronic condition it needs to be treated in a timely manner and lifestyle modification need to occur; for this to happen the symptoms of alcohol induced pancreatitis will first need to be recognized.
The Symptoms of Alcohol Induced Pancreatitis
The initial symptoms of alcohol induced pancreatitis can be quite mild and it might be easy to dismiss them as something minor. The first noticeable symptom is likely to be pain which occurs in the centre of the upper abdomen. This might just start off as a nagging pain but as time goes on it is likely to get more severe; eventually this can get so bad that it will be impossible to ignore. The most intense pain may be experienced after eating food and the pain. As well as abdomen pain the individual experiencing symptoms of alcohol induced pancreatitis may also have the following symptoms;
- Back pain
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Jaundice (the skin and eyes may appear yellow)
- Lack of appetite
Heavy drinkers who experience the early signs of pancreatitis might not seek help until things get really bad; this can be dangerous and possibly life threatening.
How to Deal With the Symptoms of Alcohol Induced Pancreatitis
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Left untreated it is possible for pancreatitis to lead to sepsis, severe hypotension (a drop in blood pressure to dangerous levels), or even failure of multiple organs followed by death. The treatment of acute pancreatitis needs to occur under medical supervision. The goal will be to keep the person fasting so as to not put further strain on the pancreas; intravenous fluids will be given to keep the patient hydrated. Medical staff will monitor to ensure that the person does not deteriorate and will do all they can to support the other organs in the body. Pain medication will be offered so as to keep the patient as comfortable as possible.
The symptoms of alcohol induced pancreatitis should always be taken seriously as this is potentially a life threatening condition. Once acute pancreatitis is treated lifestyle modification needs to occur in order to prevent the development of chronic pancreatitis.