Pancreatitis and Diabetes (Type 3c Diabetes)

Pancreatitis and Diabetes

Pancreatitis and diabetes are chronic conditions, and their combination results in type 3c diabetes, also known as pancreatogenic diabetes.

Type 3c diabetes is frequently misdiagnosed as type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus, but their causes are completely different.

Medical practitioners have been baffled by the correlation and cause of both pancreatitis and diabetes for decades.

These two disorders can have unanticipated effects on the body and interactions with one another while having a similar appearance.

Nevertheless, a variety of studies and data point to a connection between diabetes and pancreatitis. And right now, thanks to genetic testing, we’re closer than ever to learning the details we require to address our most pressing concerns regarding the pancreas and the disorders affecting this essential organ.

There are a few key details about pancreatitis, diabetes, and the organs they impact that you should be aware of before we discuss these disorders in more detail.

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What is Pancreatitis?

The pancreas is a gland that supports the endocrine and digestive systems. Enzymes that aid in food digestion are secreted by this organ.

These enzymes digest food and transform it into the vital nutrients the body requires to function. To control blood sugar, the pancreas also secretes the hormones glucagon and insulin. The pancreas is situated in the upper left abdomen, behind the stomach.

The simplest definition of pancreatitis is pancreatic inflammation, although the condition is much more complicated than that.

When the digestive enzymes that the pancreas releases become active while still inside the pancreas, inflammation results.

The pancreas is broken down by enzymes instead of trying to break down the meal as it should be, which can result in inflammation and related disorders.

Pancreatitis is of three types which include acute, recurrent acute, and chronic pancreatitis.

Nausea, vomiting, and fever can be some prominent symptoms.

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What is Diabetes?

Hyperglycemia, or elevated blood sugar levels, is the cause of several disorders collectively known as diabetes.

Glucose control is important because it provides energy to the cells that make up muscles and tissues. Glucose serves as the brain’s primary energy source.

There are various forms of diabetes, and each variety has a different underlying cause for the disease’s surge in blood sugar levels.

Patients with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are above normal. Although their blood glucose levels are not high enough to be classified as type 2, type 2 diabetes is almost guaranteed to develop in the absence of treatment such as diet changes and weight loss.

Diabetes in its gestational form results from hyperglycemia throughout pregnancy. Most of the time, gestational diabetes goes away shortly after delivering the baby.

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How do pancreatitis and diabetes affect the pancreas?

The pancreas becomes inflamed when it is unable to secrete vital hormones and enzymes required for controlling glucose levels and digestion.

The discomfort that many patients experience is brought on by this inflammation. However, persistent pancreatic inflammation is a proven long-term risk factor for type 3c diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

Patients with type 3c diabetes are unable to produce enough insulin from their pancreas to effectively manage blood glucose levels.

Patients need insulin injections to assist the pancreas in controlling blood sugar in roughly half of the instances.

The pancreas’ ability to digest food is also known to be compromised by this type of diabetes. The patient frequently develops exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) when the pancreas is compromised in this way.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is a frequent side effect among those with diabetes and chronic pancreatitis.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency can also lead to chronic diarrhea and bloating in addition to digestive problems. Thankfully, getting replacement pancreatic enzyme therapy is a successful remedy.

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Can type 3c diabetes be caused by pancreatitis?

Type 3c diabetes is known to be brought on by pancreatitis, which accounts for roughly 80% of all instances of type 3c. However, a disproportionate number of people receive an incorrect type 1 or type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Type 3c diabetes affects more persons than type 1 diabetes.

According to one study, with a prevalence of 9.2% among the participants examined, diabetes mellitus owing to pancreatic disorders (particularly chronic pancreatitis) appears to be more prevalent than is typically supposed.

Type 3c diabetes has a 25 to 80% likelihood of developing in those with chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is not the primary cause of 20% of cases of type 3c diabetes. Instead, this situation is typically brought on by hemochromatosis, cystic fibrosis, or pancreatic cancer.

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What is the link between pancreatitis and diabetes?

It is not known whether diabetes and pancreatitis are causally related. However, these two situations exhibit a wide range of connections.

Why is there a correlation in this case, if there isn’t a direct connection? because many of the causes of these two illnesses are similar.

Therefore, if a patient has gallstones since it is established that gallstones can lead to diabetes and pancreatitis, it really would make sense that the patient has a high risk of getting both ailments as a result of their gallstones.

Some other associated conditions that can cause pancreatitis and diabetes are.

  • Medications
  • Autoimmunity
  • High TGs
  • Use of alcohol or tobacco

 Genetic link between pancreatitis and diabetes

Genetic factors are now generally acknowledged risk factors for numerous diseases, including pancreatitis and diabetes, as the medical profession has learned more about genes and their function in the development of chronic disorders.

Studies have investigated and stressed the link between hereditary pancreatitis and diabetes. Patients with hereditary pancreatitis must be treated for hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. [ref]

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Can pancreatic cancer be caused by pancreatitis and diabetes?

According to medical experts, persistent chronic pancreatitis can result in pancreatic cancer.

However, diabetes is a bit unique. Patients may receive a diabetes diagnosis and start losing weight when they are more than 50 years old.

Most people with diabetes and weight loss do not have pancreatitis and are not given that diagnosis. On the other hand, pancreatic cancer may be the cause of new-onset diabetes in extremely rare circumstances, or the patient may go on to develop the disease.

Those who unintentionally lose weight after being diagnosed with diabetes are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. [ref]

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Pancreatitis and drugs for diabetes

An increased risk of pancreatitis has been associated with some diabetes treatments. It was discovered that taking Januvia plus Byetta doubled the risk of developing pancreatitis. [ref]

These medications belong to DPP-4 inhibitors and Incretin mimetics and work by decreasing glucagon release and subsequently increasing insulin release from the pancreas.

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What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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