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Pancreatitis



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What Is Pancreatitis

The pancreas has two jobs: 1) releasing enzymes into the small intestine to help digestion; 2) releasing insulin and glucagon, which control energy, into the bloodstream.  Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas.  It can come and go quickly turn into a chronic condition.  

Acute Pancreatitis: This is the sudden inflammation that lasts for a short period of time.  It can be mild or severe.  Most people get over it in no time, but some extreme cases can result in tissue damage, infection, or cyst formation.

Chronic Pancreatitis: This is when the pancreas is inflamed for a long period of time, and can be the result of Acute Pancreatitis.  Heavy drinking is usually the primary culprit of Chronic Pancreatitis. 

 

Signs Of Pancreatitis

The most common symptom for Acute or Chronic Pancreatitis is upper abdominal pain.  Like most conditions, the symptoms can vary from person to person.  Sometimes imaging scans will show inflammation in those with Chronic Pancreatitis.  Other symptoms include:

  • Upper Abdominal Pain
  • Abdominal Pain (that extend around to your back)
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating or Swollen Stomach
  • Hiccups
  • Fever
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Tenderness (when touching the abdomen)
What Causes Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can have multiple causes.  If the digestive enzymes that the pancreas produces get activated while in the pancreas, they can begin digesting the pancreas, causing irritation and inflammation.  The two other primary causes are heavy consumption of alcohol and gallstones.  If gallstones get stuck in the bile duct, this can strain the pancreatic duct and disrupt the normal flow of pancreatic fluid.  The causes of Pancreatitis include:

  • Heavy Alcohol Consumption
  • Gallstones
  • Some Medications
  • Abdominal Surgery
  • History of Pancreatitis in the Family
  • High Calcium Levels in the Blood
  • Abdominal Infection
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Abdominal Injury

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • Because heavy drinking can cause Pancreatitis, it's best to avoid drinking alcohol.  In addition to removing alcohol from your diet, quitting smoking can be beneficial as well.  The habit of smoking cigarettes can increase your risk of developing Pancreatitis. 
  • Avoiding foods that are high in fat can be beneficial to your overall health.  It's best to refrain from consuming meats, dairy products, processed foods, sugar, and salt and switch to a more plant-based diet to get the nutrients that your body needs.  Many vegetables can promote healthy digestion, and eating fruits and vegetables can help give you a better, overall feeling. 
  • Drinking water is extremely important if you have Pancreatitis.  To stay properly hydrated, it's optimal to drink eight 8oz. glasses of water per day.  A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.  If you weigh 150lbs then you should be consuming 75oz. of water. 
  • Start eating a lot of superfoods because many of them have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.  The best superfoods to eat include kale, collards, spinach, avocado, coconuts, extra virgin olive oil, and sprouted seeds.  
  • You can peform intermittent superfood and water fasts for periods of 16-24 hours.  During the fast, drink as much water, green juice, and herbal tea as you can.  Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a break and allows it to heal. 
  • Acupuncture has been known to help relieve symptoms of Pancreatitis.  The treatments help reallign the person's energy and establish improved circulation.  The improved circulation can help alleviate pain, which is associated with Pancreatitis, and improve digestion. 
  • It's best to keep your emotions in check if you develop Pancreatitis.  Stress, anger, or frustration can sometimes make the condition worse.  You can try to establish your mind/body connection via meditation calming exercises like yoga or Tai Chi, or you can try a guided imagery or hypnosis session.  The goal is to create a more positive outlook on your overall health.  
Things you should eat
  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & collards)
  • Broccoli
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Avocados
  • Coconuts
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sprouted Nuts
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Cherries
  • Mushrooms
  • Red Grapes
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