DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR. E. WALKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Acute pancreatitis, gross specimen. Acute pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive enzymes and the hormone insulin. The disease is caused by digestive enzymes that become activated before they leave the pancreas and start to digest it. Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly and usually lasts only a few days. Symptoms include severe upper abdominal pain, vomiting and fever. Treatment is aimed at supporting vital functions and preventing complications as acute pancreatitis usually improves on its own. The main causes of the disease are gallstones and heavy drinking, although for some cases there is no known cause.
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