Friday, June 1, 2012

Preventing Pancreatic Attacks

Preventing Attacks of the Pancreas

The long-standing principle has been to try and rest the pancreas. This involves giving pancreatic supplements such as Creon (which contain pancreatic enzymes in high concentration) together with drugs which reduce acid secretion by the stomach. Patients should also follow a low-fat diet.

'Letting the pancreas rest' means no food and water (if hospitalized) - the patient is hooked up to an IV to simply bypass the pancreas. This bypassing of the pancreas means the pancreas does not need to function which essentially allows it to 'rest'. Hence the coining of the term.

While caring for the pancreas at home, there have been times that I have needed to let my pancreas rest. My diet during these times has included things like tea and broth only, or sometimes it means really running baby cereal and fat-free yogurt. For some people it means jello and tapioca. When the system is ready for it - which can be a couple days to several weeks or longer - toast and jam or other basics are often incorporated.

Following a low-fat diet was very difficult for the first couple years after I was initially hospitalized with severe acute pancreatitis. But gradually, I learned that I could decrease the pain and increase my quality of life if I decrease the amount of fat I allowed in my system. Fat-free cheese and lean meat makes a big difference. And now, I like foods that aren't as heavy... and my pancreas is always much happier when I take the easier, softer road for its recovery. Basically, when I refrain from eating fatty (or heavy) foods, my pancreas does not have to work as hard which decreases the overall pain I must deal with and most likely extends my life.

These measures reduce the presence of fat in the duodenum, reduce acid in the duodenum and reduce the need for pancreatic enzyme secretion. These measures are very successful in about a third of patients, moderately successful in a third and unhelpful in a third.

I have never really seen or felt any substantial or sustainable relief or positive results from Creon or Pancreatin.

Some eminent specialists have supported the use of antioxidants in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis. These antioxidants include selenium and vitamin C. You should take specialist advice (via your GP) before taking them.

Brazil nuts are very high in selenium. Some say that selenium helps to reduce the risk of cancer. I've read that chronic pancreatitis can turn into cancer. Therefore, I try to be proactive in staying cancer free. Years ago, I read the amount of selenium that was recommended. It worked out to be about 9 Brazil nuts per day. Sometimes, I go months without Brazil nuts. Sometimes, I can't handle more then 9 spread out over the course of a day. Recently, I ate about a 1/4 pound of them. It made me feel awful in a way that felt like the Brazil nuts were cleaning out and detoxing my system. I try to drink enough water at the same time to help flush my system... but honestly, I'm not very good at that.

Source for information in italics: NetDoctor

1 comment:

  1. There are a couple of studies out that show promise for patients who take a daily regimen of Vitamins A, E, C, Selenium, and L Methionine