The digestive system has lots of moving parts to help it function properly, and one key yet overlooked cog in the system is the pancreas. The pancreas produces enzymes that help digestion and produces hormones that help the body process sugar.

Many Americans fall ill to pancreatitis—inflammation of the pancreas—every year, but do you know much about this illness? Learn more from our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland team below.

What Is Pancreatitis?

The pancreas is a gland that is tucked behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. When it gets inflamed, it can cause gastrointestinal issues.

Pancreatitis can be both acute and chronic, and symptoms can range from mild to even life-threatening. Acute and chronic pancreatitis have slightly different symptoms, but acute pancreatitis remains the more common type of this illness. We’ve listed the most common acute pancreatitis symptoms below.

Common Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
  • Tenderness when touching the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Who Is at Risk of Getting Pancreatitis?

Those who live a relatively unhealthy lifestyle have a higher risk of getting pancreatitis. Although chronic pancreatitis can have a genetic element to it, acute pancreatitis is more likely among those who are obese or are chronic smokers.

We’ve listed the most common pancreatitis risk factors below.

Common Pancreatitis Risk Factors

  • Excessive alcohol consumption. Heavy drinkers (those who take four to five drinks per day) have a higher risk of pancreatitis, according to research.
  • Cigarette smoking. Compared to non-smokers, chronic smokers are on average three times more likely to develop chronic pancreatitis.
  • Obesity. You’re more likely to get pancreatitis if you’re obese.
  • Diabetes. Having diabetes increases your risk of pancreatitis.

Do you think you may have pancreatitis? Our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland team can help you take the next steps toward feeling better. Don’t hesitate to visit us or give us a call today!