My son, 35, was in the hospital last year for about a week and a half with Acute Pancreatitis. He has had some abdominal pain and nausea in the last year, but nothing that they really thought was pancreatitis.
Last week he had to go to hospital again and they are saying it's Acute Pancreatitis. I think they think it's caused by Triglycerides(very high) (I have hgih Triglycerides as well - but I'm managed on medicine). I know that in the past he has been a moderate, maybe above average drinker. But in the last year, he drank no alchohol for six months and then was told he could drink moderately. He does not drink more than two glasses of wine a day at this point, but it seems that was not good advice.
So far, all seems as good as one can expect. They have done CT, Ultrasound, MRI and have just found inflamed pancreas.
He has recently been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high heart rate (168), very low immune levels, high inflammation on labs, etc. Kind of a mess.
Of course, I'm very concerned. How do you distinguish a second acute attack from chronic pancreatitis?
They say they are going to try more things to lower triglycerides, but beyond his medicine he is on, not sure what they can do.
Pancreatitis has several causes and with him having high inflammation on labs, etc, I would suggest his Drs look for an autoimmune cause of the pancreatitis. Of course he should abstain from alcohol. An ERCP, a scope that allows visualizing the pancreatic duct and allows a biopsy might be helpful as well.
Alcohol can increase triglycerides, as well as large amounts of dietary fructose (high fructose corn syrup). Fructose is the only form of sugar the body turns directly into triglycerides.
If he is on meds to control his lipids, these may not mix with even moderate alcohol consumption too well, but his doctors should have known this.
One thing I hope the doc's haven't overlooked is iron... Alcohol increases iron absorption, and once you've got a lot of stored iron on-board, it can remain high even after many months away from alcohol.
Iron is very inflammatory to the pancreas, and high iron from previous drinking combined with even moderate amounts of new alcohol can cause problems. He should have a full iron study (ferritin, serum iron and transferrin saturation) to rule out iron as a contributing factor for his inflammation. These are cheap easy blood tests and the doc should't object to ordering these.
Elevated iron can be lowered by avoiding vitamins with iron, substituting chicken or fish for red meat, drinking coffee (decaf if he is off caffeine due to his heart) or tea (green tea is best) with breakfast, and ice tea with lunch. Substituting coffee or tea in place of sodas sweetened with fructose will also help with the triglyceride issues.
Lecithin from eggs can be very supportive in healing an inflamed pancreas, so if he doesn't normally eat eggs, you might try adding some to his diet. Dietary cholesterol (from eggs) should not substantially affect his total cholesterol, but if he or his doctor is worried about this you might ask his doc if a lecithin supplement would be safe to try.
Best of luck to both of you!
Last edited by BillinSD; 07-27-2012 at 08:25 PM.