What is Pancreas?
Pancreas is an abdominal organ located behind the stomach and surrounded by spleen, liver and small intestine. It is a vital part of the digestive system and is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.
The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes such as proteases, amylase and lipase into the duodenum. These enzymes help in digesting proteins, sugars and fat respectively. Islets of Langerhans are embedded in the pancreas that secretes hormones such as insulin and glucagon into the blood.
Diagram of Pancreas
The pancreas is located in the abdomen. A part of it is placed between the stomach and the spine. The other part finds its place in the curve of the first section of the small intestine, known as the duodenum.
The head of the pancreas is on the right side of the abdomen and is connected to the duodenum through the pancreatic duct. The tail of the pancreas extends to the left side of the body.
Also Read: Human Digestive System
Due to the inaccessibility of pancreas, the evaluation of pancreatic diseases could be difficult.
Disorders that affect the pancreas include precancerous conditions, pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer. Each disorder exhibits different symptoms and needs different treatments.
Pancreatitis is swelling when the pancreatic enzyme is secreted and begins to digest the organ itself. It could exist as painful attacks or a chronic condition that lasts for years.
Precursors to Pancreatic Cancer
The primary reason for pancreatic cancer is yet to be known, but there are risk factors that increase the danger of developing diseases. Some of the factors include smoking or hereditary cancer syndromes.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is one of the most common forms of pancreatic cancer. It is an exocrine tumour that arises from the cells that line the pancreatic duct. A tumour of the endocrine gland accounts for less than 5% of all pancreatic tumours and is referred to as islet or neuroendocrine.
The pancreas performs the following functions:
The pancreas consists of exocrine glands that produce enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin that are essential for digestion. These enzymes contain chymotrypsin and trypsin to digest proteins, amylase for the digestion of carbohydrates and lipase to break down fats. These pancreatic juices are liberated into the system of ducts and culminated in the pancreatic duct when the food enters the stomach.
The endocrine part of the pancreas comprises Islets of Langerhans that release insulin and glucagon directly into the bloodstream. They help in regulating the blood sugar levels of the body.
Also Read: Digestive Enzymes
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