Are We Missing Chronic Pancreatitis? Does it Matter?

The answer to both these questions is yes according to Dr Darren Pavey, gastroenterologist and senior lecturer at the University of NSW.

Speaking at the Healthed General Practice Education seminar in Sydney recently, Dr Pavey said there was good international research suggesting that many cases of chronic pancreatitis were going undiagnosed and the condition was far more prevalent than previously recognised.

Overseas studies including cohorts of randomly selected adult patients suggest a prevalence of between 6-12%, with the condition being more likely among patients with recent onset type 2 diabetes, excess alcohol intake, smokers and those over 40 years of age, he said.

And in response to the question of whether it is important to diagnose this condition, Dr Pavey said chronic pancreatitis not only caused immediate symptoms usually including pain, diarrhoea and weight loss but commonly had longer-term consequences such as pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (where there is less than 10% pancreatic function) and an increased risk of diabetes, malnutrition and even pancreatic ...

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