The gallbladder, pancreas, and liver are all closely related to one another within the body, and also share similar digestive functions. The liver’s function is irreplaceable and critical to the body’s function, as it produces bile, a liquid that helps the stomach digest fatty acids. The pancreas secretes digestive juice in the small intestine, breaking down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Gallbladder, Liver & Pancreas Conditions
- Hepatitis C
- Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis – PCS
- Pancreatic Cancer
This virus can cause liver inflammation and infectious disease. Although initially the symptoms are not noticeable, this can lead to scarring on the liver which becomes cirrhosis. Hepatitis C is spread through blood to blood contact, often associated with dirty medical equipment. 15-200 million people are diagnosed with this each year. This condition is often treated with medication.
This results from advanced liver disease and is where scar tissue and lumps replaces normal liver tissue. Because of these, the liver stops functioning correctly. Sometimes, this disease may be caught early and can be seen in bruising, bleeding, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, and sensitivity to medication. To evaluate whether you have this, an ultrasound is usually given.
A gallstone is a crystalline tiny stone that is formed from composites from bile and is formed in the gallbladder. They can range in size from a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball, and there can be many at one time in the gallbladder or just one.
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis – PCS
PCS is a disease process that causes the bile ducts to become inflamed. The bile ducts can be obstructed inside and outside the liver. This also inhibits the flow of bile to the stomach, which can lead to liver failure or liver cancer. Some symptoms of this include: chronic fatigue, malabsorption, dark urine, and jaundice or yellow skin with intense itching. To diagnose this, doctors with taking pictures of the bile duct.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen, pain in the abdomen that worsens after eating, nausea, and vomiting. If these conditions are persistent, then you should see a doctor. This condition occurs when inactive enzymes in the pancreas become active and irritate the cells in there, causing inflammation. Some causes of this are: alcoholism, abdominal surgery, gallstones, smoking cigarettes, and cystic fibrosis.
Pancreatic cancer or cancer in the pancreas is often not found in its early stages, and has a poor diagnosis because it spreads so rapidly. Some symptoms include: yellow skin, upper abdomen pain that can move to your back, weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, and blood clots. It is still not known what causes pancreatic cancer. Treatment is directly indicative of the stage of cancer, but oftentimes surgery is performed to remove the tumors, as well as portions of the pancreas, small intestine, and gallbladder. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be options as well.
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