Pancreatitis: Answering Your Questions

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas—the flat, long gland located between the stomach and the duodenum, which is the first section of the small intestine. The body needs the pancreas to digest carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and does so by sending digestive enzymes into the small intestine. The pancreas also releases insulin and glucagon into the blood to help control blood sugar levels.

In patients experiencing pancreatitis, their digestive enzymes have been activated too soon and start to attack the pancreas.

pancreasIf you suffer from chronic pancreatitis, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Because obtaining disability benefits can be challenging, it’s helpful to hire an experienced Social Security (SS) disability attorney to help you file your claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about pancreatitis include why it happens, if there are dietary restrictions, and if there are further
complications as a result of the disease.

If you’ve been diagnosed with pancreatitis, here's what you should know.

Why does someone develop chronic pancreatitis?

The progressive inflammatory process in the pancreas can cause chronic pancreatitis. This type of pancreatitis will cause scar tissue, calcifications or stones due to calcium deposits, and a dilated pancreatic duct.

When patients experience frequent bouts of pancreatitis, drink alcohol, and/or have high calcium levels in the blood, they can develop chronic pancreatitis. It’s also a hereditary condition and one that’s common if there are high fat levels in the blood. People with chronic pancreatitis are more likely to develop diabetes.

What type of diet should I follow if I have pancreatitis?

If you’ve experienced acute or chronic pancreatitis, your pancreas needs time to rest and get healthy again. Immediately, you should stop drinking alcohol and eat a diet low in fat. Staying hydrated is also important. Certain foods can help protect your digestive organs and provide a better diet for those suffering from pancreatitis.

These include:

  • Blueberries, whole grains, cherries, and spinach
  • Lean meats and clear soups—foods easier for your pancreas to process
  • Fruits instead of sugary sweets, because patients with pancreatitis are at a high risk to develop diabetes
  • Cherry tomatoes, hummus, and cucumbers
  • Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines

Foods to limit or avoid:

  • Fried foods
  • Chips and fries
  • Margarine, butter, and mayonnaise
  • Drinks with added sugar
  • Red meat and organ meat

Can pancreatitis be fatal?

Yes. Pancreatitis can create many health complications that may affect other organs. If these complications aren’t treated, they can be fatal. These complications include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pseudocyst
  • Internal infections
  • Malnutrition

We Can Help

If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis, you may qualify for SS disability benefits. Hiring an experienced SS attorney can help determine if you meet a listing in the SSA's Blue Book of Impairments.

Contact the attorneys at Cuddigan Law who can help you understand the process and work with you on your application to increase your chances of getting an approved claim.

 

Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience