SymptomsThere are two forms of pancreatitis. The acute form occurs suddenly and can be very severe and lead to death. After successful treatment of acute pancreatitis, the gland usually recovers completely.
Chronic (long term) pancreatitis occurs when there is continuous damage to the pancreas that can lead to ongoing pain and a permanent decrease in its function.
Both acute and chronic pancreatitis cause pain, usually in the upper abdomen. Typically pain spreads straight to the middle of the back. It may come on after heavy alcohol use or eating. It is frequently accompanied by nausea and vomiting. It is worse when lying flat and better when bending forward. In severe cases there may be fever, sweating, fast heartbeat, light headedness and fainting. It can lead to heart, lung and kidney failure and ultimately death.