What is Pancreas?
The pancreas is another of the important digestive organs. It produces several chemicals. One is insulin, which is pumped directly into the bloodstream and helps to convert circulating blood glucose (the end point of starch or carbohydrate digestion) into glycogen, the form in which it is stored by the body until required. Other digestive juices are also produced in abundance. These contain chemicals (enzymes) that assist in the breakdown and digestion of the food in the bowel. Amylase, lipase, trypsin, chymotrypsin and carboxypeptidase are some of them. When food enters the duodenum it stimulates the entry of these enzymes into the bowel system.
The liver, gall bladder and pancreas may be the sites for disease processes. A large number of disorders may occur here. However, some are very common and can produce a great deal of discomfort and disability, such as gall-bladder disease and gallstones. Others are infectious and produce many disabling symptoms, such as hepatitis A and hepatitis B, the latter being the more serious. Because blood from the bowel and other parts of the body passes through the liver substance, it is a common site for secondary cancer invasion, or metastases. Often cancer of some distant organ will present with the rapid growth of metastases in the liver.
Alcohol readily finds its way to the liver soon after it has been ingested. Cirrhosis (destruction) of the liver, in many different degrees, is a common aftermath of alcoholic intake over a period of years. In many cases it can produce death far sooner than would have normally occurred, a salutary warning for moderate-to-heavy drinkers.
The pancreas is important, for disorders here are responsible for abnormal insulin production and the disease known as diabetes, in which glucose (sugar) storage is impaired. It is also the site of cancer. A very painful, but fortunately fairly uncommon condition called pancreatitis takes place here.
Commonsense living can make home treatment of some of these disorders straightforward. But others need the doctor’s advice.