What Are the Risk Factors for Chronic Pancreatitis

What Are the Risk Factors for Chronic Pancreatitis

What Are the Risk Factors for Chronic Pancreatitis?

• Alcohol. Alcohol enters the bloodstream and travels to the pancreas, causing a hypoxic condition under which mitochondria in the pancreatic tissue can no longer produce energy. Low energy production limits the ability of pancreatic cells to perform normal physiological functions, such as the secretion of insulin. Aldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism, induces a surge of free radical production, leading to oxidative damage and inflammation. Heavy alcohol consumption is a major causative factor for chronic pancreatitis.

• Smoking. Nicotine in cigarette smoke can stimulate the release of calcium from pancreatic tissue. Excessive intracellular calcium causes injuries to insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Furthermore, cigarette smoking can exacerbate alcohol-induced chronic pancreatitis.

• Pancreatic duct obstruction. Alcohol consumption also promotes the formation of stones in the digestive juices secreted by the pancreas. These stones rubbing against the surface of the pancreatic duct lead to inflammation, ulcers, and pancreatic duct obstruction. Pancreatic duct obstruction is a risk factor for chronic pancreatitis.

• Family and genetics. Hereditary pancreatitis is a genetically related pancreatic disease. Hereditary pancreatitis, although rare, can evolve into chronic pancreatitis and even pancreatic cancer.