Digestive Health

Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis include gradual or sudden pain in the upper abdomen that sometimes extends through the back. You may experience mild pain at first and feel worse after eating. But the pain is often severe and can be constant for several days. If you think you’re suffering from acute pancreatitis, you should seek immediate medical attention.

The following are the most common symptoms of acute pancreatitis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis may include:

Acute pancreatitis can be a life threatening illness and must be treated medically.

Diagnosis of acute pancreatitis

While asking about a person's medical history and conducting a thorough physical examination, the doctor will order a blood test to assist in the diagnosis. During acute pancreatitis, the blood contains at least three times the normal amount of amylase and lipase, digestive enzymes formed in the pancreas. Changes may also occur in other body chemicals such as glucose, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate. After the person's condition improves, the levels usually return to normal.

Diagnosing acute pancreatitis is often difficult because of the deep location of the pancreas. The doctor will likely order one or more of the following tests:

Stanford’s Benign Pancreas Program physicians are renowned for their innovative procedures and excellent patient outcomes.


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