What is the Pancreas?It was discovered in approximately 280 BC by a Greek Surgeon andAnatomist. The term Pancreas is derived from Greek meaning “All”,“Whole” and “Flesh”. It is assumed it is called that because of itsﬂeshy consistency.The pancreas is an organ gland that can be found in the digestivesystem and endocrine system of Vertebrates(Animals withbackbones and spinal columns).It is both a digestive organ as well as dual function endocrinegland that is vital to breaking down food and producing severalhormones.
What does the Pancreas do? The Pancreas is vital to our daily food intake and making foods able to be broken down by our bodies. The Endocrine portion of the Pancreas is responsible for the task of producing and maintaining many levels of hormones such as insulin, pancreatic polypeptides, and glucagon. The Digestive part of the Pancreas is critical to the secretion of pancreatic juices in which contains digestive enzymes. These digestive enzymes assist in the absorption of nutrients as well as the digestion in the small intestine. The enzymes themselves help break down our daily lipids, carbohydrates, chyme, and proteins.
What does the Pancreas look like? 1. Head of the Pancreas 2. Uncinate Process of Pancreas 3. Pancreatic Notch 4. Body of Pancreas 5. Anterior Surface of Pancreas 6. Inferior Surface of Pancreas 7. Superior Margin of Pancreas 8. Anterior Margin of Pancreas 9. Inferior Margin of Pancreas 10. Omental Tuber 11. Tail of Pancreas 12. Duodenum
The Pancreas’ JobAs you can see, the Pancreas can go one of two ways in which it works. It can release Insulin to offset an instance of high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) In the case of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), it will releaseglucagon to compensate for the low sugar levels.
Diseases of the PancreasThe Pancreas is a major storage depot for the digestive enzymes ofthe human body. Because of this, injury to the Pancreas couldpotentially be very dangerous, or even fatal.A puncture, or trauma, to the Pancreas typically results inimmediate and experienced medical intervention.Diabetes Mellitus Type 1, or T1DM (Type 1 Diabetes, JuvenileDiabetes, Insulin Dependent) is a chronic autoimmune disease inwhich the immune system attacks the insulin secreting cells of thepancreas. There MAY be some correlations between diabetes,chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Diseases of the Pancreas Pancreatic CancerParticularly a cancer of the exocrine pancreas. Pancreatic Cancer remainsone of the most deadly cancers known to man.It has a very high mortality rate, with 1 year survival rate around 25%and 5 year survival less than an astonishing 5% for all stages combined.Untreated Metastatic Pancreatic cancer leads to a median survival of 3-5months, with complete remission being very rare.In 2010, according to the American Cancer Society, 43,000 people werediagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, of which 37,000 died from the disease.Because of its deep location, tumors are rarely palpable. It also explainswhy many symptoms of cancer go unnoticed until it is large enough tointerfere with the function of nearby organs such as the stomach, liver,or gallbladder.
Diseases of the PancreasThe ﬁnal disease of the pancreas I will cover is a morecommon, and very painful, Pancreatitis.Pancreatitis is an inﬂammation of the Pancreas (-itismeaning inﬂammation)A variety of factors can cause high pressure in thePancreatic Ducts. Pancreatic Duct rupture, and juiceleakage causes pancreatic self digestion. This is whenPancreatitis occurs.Gallstones and Alcohol are two of the most common causesof pancreatitis
Where is the Pancreas located?The Pancreas is located deep within the abdomen. It is sandwiched between the stomach and spine.To visualize the position of the pancreas, try this- Touch the thumb and pinkie ﬁnger of your right hand together, keeping the other three ﬁngers together and straight. Then,place your hand in the center of your belly just below your lower ribs with your ﬁngers pointing to the left. Your hand will be at the approximate level of your Pancreas.
The “Hermit of the Abdomen”If you would like to know more about this organ/gland, feel free tocheck out pancreas.org, pancan.org, as well as The American CancerSociety’s site: cancer.org.Thank you very much for reviewing this information, and I hopeyou enjoyed learning this new and exciting information as much asI did. I hope you all take a little bit of information to your ownlives! Christopher Kenney 9/4/12