Chronic Pancreatitis

Well, after months and months of testing we have a confirmed diagnosis of some of the health issues I have been dealing with. Some days are better than others. Today has been one of the most difficult days, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted this weekend (mostly healthy) trying to get some serious calories in my system. Well, that backfired today as I felt HORRIBLE training this AM. No energy, dizzy, nauseous… I guess that is what I get for trying to eat more. But the issue is simply that I have major inflammation and irritation in my pancreas and that it doesn’t break down food. I learned my lesson and SWEAR to be near perfect with my diet from this day on. Time to fire up the blender, magic bullet, and get the slow cooker out to make soups! First up, time to open some jello.

Yes, it’s an issue and obstacle I will have to overcome BUT it’s not the end of the world and with some creative nutrition and enzymes I will be as good as new. 😉

Chronic Pancreatitis

The pancreas is a long, flat gland that is located behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. It is an organ that is a part of the digestive and endocrine system. It secretes pancreatic fluid containing digestive enzymes that assist in the digestion of food by breaking down nutrients (carbs, protein, and fat). As an endocrine gland, it produces several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin.

Pancreatitis is inflammation or infection of the pancreas. There are different types of pancreatitis, including acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic abscess. Symptoms indicating any kind of pancreatitis are abdominal pain, chills, clammy skin, fatty stools, fever, mild jaundice, nausea, sweating, weakness, weight loss and vomiting.

Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that does not heal or improve. It worsens over time and leads to permanent damage, scarring and loss of function. It occurs when digestive enzymes attack the pancreas and nearby tissues. This compromises the ability of the pancreas to produce the right amount of enzymes needed to digest fat. It also interferes with one of the important functions of the pancreas, that of insulin production, which sometimes can lead to diabetes.

Treatment for chronic pancreatitis usually includes hospitalization for pain management, IV hydration and nutritional support. When the patient begins consuming a normal diet, the doctor may prescribe synthetic pancreatic enzymes if the pancreas does not secrete enough of its own, which help to facilitate digestion of food.

The most important aspect to keep in mind while planning a diet for pancreatitis is to ensure that the carbohydrate content is high and the fat content is low. Meals should ideally be small and frequent. Large heavy meals should be avoided totally. Fried, rich or spicy foods need to be avoided. Many patients with chronic pancreatitis have high blood glucose levels, hence they should steer clear of concentrated sweets and desserts. Foods that should find a prominent place in your diet are lean cooked meats, vegetables, fruits, rice, soups. Avoid red meats, high fat foods, butter, etc.

Breakfast could consist of oatmeal, toast and bananas. Options for lunch and dinner could be salad, lean protein (fish, chicken, turkey), vegetables (lightly steamed) and fruits preferably pureed such as apples, pears and bananas. Light snacks are good between meals (smoothies, jello, applesauce)

Other dietary instructions include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids such as fruit or vegetable juices. Limit caffeine and soda
  • Limit alcohol to a few drinks a week max. Alcohol is poison to people diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis.
  • Most people find that liquifying their meal makes it easier to digest. Soups mixed together and pureed in a blender make a healthy meal.

One thought on “Chronic Pancreatitis

  1. Pingback: Last post for a few hours.. | livingwithpancreaticpain

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