Monday, September 10, 2018


The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen. It plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body's cells.

 The pancreas has two main functions:
1:  An exocrine function that helps in digestion.
2:  An endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.

Exocrine Function:
The pancreas contains exocrine glands that produce enzymes important to digestion.
These enzymes include trypsin and chymotrypsin to digest proteins; amylase for the digestion of carbohydrates; and lipase to break down fats.
When food enters the stomach, these pancreatic juices are released into a system of ducts that culminate in the main pancreatic duct . The pancreatic duct joins the common bile duct to form the ampulla of Vater which is located at the first portion of the small intestine, called the duodenum. The common bile duct originates in the liver and the
gallbladder and produces another important digestive juice called bile.
The pancreatic juices and bile that are released into the duodenum, help the body to digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Endocrine Function:
The endocrine component of the pancreas consists of islet cells (islets of Langerhans) that create and release important hormones directly into the bloodstream.

Two of the main pancreatic hormones are;
 1:  Insulin: this acts to lower blood sugar.
2:   Glucagon: this acts to raise blood sugar.

    Maintaining proper blood sugar levels is crucial to the functioning of key organs including the Brain, Liver, and Kidneys.

Location of the Pancreas
     The pancreas is located behind the stomach in the upper left abdomen. It is surrounded by other organs including the small intestineliver, and spleen. It is spongy, about six to ten inches long, and is shaped like a flat pear or a fish extended horizontally across the abdomen.
The wide part, called the head of the pancreas, is positioned toward  the center of the abdomen. The head of the pancreas is located at the juncture where the stomach meets the first part of the small intestine. This is where the stomach empties partially digested food into the intestine, and the pancreas releases digestive enzymes into these contents.
The central section of the pancreas is called the neck or body.
The thin end is called the tail and extends to the left side.

Functions of the Pancreas:
    Your pancreas has two basic functions, make insulin for controlling blood sugar levels, and make enzymes for the digestion of fat and protein.  Each part has its own job when it comes to producing specialized chemicals and enzymes. It also produces hormones and vital enzymes which are important to the digestion of food after it leaves your stomach. The fluid that your pancreas produces is alkaline in its makeup so it neutralizes the acids that come from the stomach, creating the perfect environment for digestive enzymes to do their work.

Diseases of the Pancreas
1:  Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that occurs when pancreatic enzyme secretions build up and begin to digest the organ itself. It can occur as acute painful attacks lasting a matter of days, or it may be a chronic condition that progresses over a period of years.

2:  Precursors to Pancreatic  Cancer:  Although the cause of pancreas malfunctions are not well understood but there are known risk factors that increase the risk of developing the disease.  They are;
*  Cigarette smoking.
*  A family history of pancreatic cancer or hereditary cancer syndromes etc.
Also, chronic pancreatitis are some of these factors.

3:  Diabetes:  This is the most common disorder of the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin.

4:  Acute or Chronic Pancreatitis:  This causes tissue damaging inflammation levels in and around the pancreas.

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