Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas.
The pancreas is the large gland located in the upper part of the abdomen, behind the stomach. It produces digestive enzymes and hormones.
In pancreatitis, enzymes that normally are released into the digestive tract begin to damage the pancreas itself. The gland becomes swollen and inflamed. More enzymes are released into the surrounding tissues and bloodstream.
As a result, digestion slows down and becomes painful. Other body functions can be affected. The pancreas can become permanently damaged and scarred if attacks are severe, prolonged or frequent.
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