Pancreatitis is a condition that occurs when the pancreas, which is a gland located behind the stomach and near the liver, becomes inflamed. The pancreas produces digestive enzymes which are needed to digest food and insulin to control blood sugar. When the pancreas is inflamed, it releases its own enzymes causing damage to the pancreas and surrounding structures.
Pancreatitis affects one million Canadians; chronic pancreatitis affects more than 300,000 Canadians; and, acute pancreatitis affects more than 600,000 Canadians. Acute care inpatient costs for pancreas diseases are ranked as the fifth most expensive digestive diseases in Canada costing approximately $120 million per year.
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