Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: pancreatic | insufficiency | enzymes | digestion | celiac | disease

I Have Pancreatic Insufficiency

Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:11 AM

Question: Can you tell me about “pancreatic insufficiency”? I was diagnosed with this problem and I’d like to know the causes and treatments. Thank you!

Dr. Hibberd's answer::
Pancreatic insufficiency means not enough of the digestive enzymes, normally secreted by the pancreas, enters into the intestine, and so normal digestion does not occur. When pancreatic insufficiency is severe, impaired absorption of nutrients by the intestines may result, leading to deficiencies of essential nutrients and the occurrence of loose stools containing unabsorbed fat (steatorrhea).
Pancreatic insufficiency is a hallmark of cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, and can happen when surgeries of the gastrointestinal system in which portions of the stomach or pancreas are removed. Certain gastrointestinal diseases, such as stomach ulcers, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and autoimmune disorders, such as lupus may also contribute to the development of pancreatic insufficiency.
Mild forms of pancreatic insufficiency are often difficult to diagnose, and many studies report milder forms of pancreatic insufficiency need no treatment. Certain modifications to diet, like a low-fat diet (with no more than 30 to 40 percent of calories from fat) is often recommended to help prevent the steatorrhea that often accompanies pancreatic insufficiency, and avoiding high-fiber foods are known to help. Your doctor may suggest putting you on digestive enzymes that are now the mainstay of pancreatic insufficiency treatment. Other studies have indicated that taking antioxidant supplements, such as beta-carotene, methionine and other nutrients such as selenium, vitamins E and C may also be beneficial. Talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any treatment.

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Pancreatic insufficiency is a conditioon in which not enough digestive enzyme is produced by the pancreas.
Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:11 AM
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