Pancreas: One of the Body’s Tiny Wonders

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A healthy pancreas improves overall wellness.

 

In the digestive system the stomach does the primary action. This muscular organ receives food from the esophagus and digests it, making sure the nutrients are absorbed. However, there are certain enzymes that aid this vital organ on its task. These digestion catalysts are produced by the pancreas, making the pancreas the silent hero of digestion.

 

The pancreas has an endocrine and an exocrine function. Lipase (the enzyme that breaks down fat) and amylase (for carbohydrates) are only two of the catalysts released by the pancreas, as part of its exocrine function. These biological compounds are found in the pancreatic juice which is released when there is food inside the stomach.

 

Having an endocrine function, the pancreas can secrete hormones or other products directly to the bloodstream. One of its tasks involves the release of insulin to regulate blood sugar. The hormones are released through the Langerhans, the islet cells surrounding the pancreas.

 

Just like any part of the body, the pancreas plays a significant role. A damaged pancreas can cause diabetes, pancreatitis, and even cancer.

pancreas

Cancer, by general definition, is characterized by unnatural and irregular growth of cells. What causes the cells to grow out of proportion is still a mystery, but one of the most probable cause is the current human lifestyle. Cancer, like diabetes and hypertension, is classified as a lifestyle disease. This means that the disorder is a negative side effect of the food consumed by a person and his daily activities.

 

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most detrimental disease of the pancreas. It is often unnoticed since the symptoms only show when the cancer cell is already large and is growing out of the pancreas. A person with pancreatic cancer undergoes severe weight loss, abdominal pains, and jaundice. However, the symptoms may vary since they are highly dependent on the location of the cancer cell around the pancreas.

 

Treatment of pancreatic cancer involves surgery and chemotherapy, but these do not guarantee survival. These, however, may be of help in extending a patient’s life, especially if the patient is willing to change his or her lifestyle.

 

But of course, prevention is always better. Healthy eating habits and living an active lifestyle can help prevent the outgrowth of cancer and other diseases.

 

Do you know any cancer survivor who changed his or lifestyle for the better? Let me know in the comments section or send me a tweet @RosalieContino.

 

 

References

 

Columbia University Department of Surgery. “The Pancreas and Its Functions.” Accessed June 9, 2017. http://columbiasurgery.org/pancreas/pancreas-and-its-functions.

 

WebMD. “Pancreatic Cancer Health Center.” Accessed June 9, 2017. http://www.webmd.com/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/default.htm.

 

WebMD. “Cancer Health Center.” Accessed June 9, 2017. http://www.webmd.com/cancer/default.htm.

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by Rosalie H. Contino, PhD