Most women have some semblance of their digestive system. They are familiar with the basic components like the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, but there is a handful of often forgotten about parts and organs that don’t get the attention they deserve. One sterling example of this is the pancreas.
In all likelihood you know that you have one, you also probably know that it is important, but in terms of what it does, well, let’s just say unless something goes wrong, we simply just don’t give it a second thought. However, in that, you would be wrong.
The pancreas plays an incredibly vital part of each of our digestive systems, and we feel it is time that it gets the recognition it deserves. So on that note, here is everything you need to know about your pancreas.
It’s Your Stomachs Best Friend
The second you start eating, your pancreas jumps into action producing essential enzymes and hormone that the small intestine needs for digestion, including lipase and amylase. These juices help to break down all the protein and fats after they have left the stomach.
It Helps Control Your Blood Sugar
While digestion is certainly important, in addition to that, your pancreas has specific cells called beta cells which are responsible for producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps take the sugar found in the food you eat and move it through the bloodstream and throughout the body where it can be used as fuel.
Alcohol and the Pancreas Don’t Mix
One of the biggest causes of pancreatitis and inflammation of the pancreas is alcohol, more specifically, excessive amounts of it or “binge” drinking. Drinking to excess can trigger an attack in the pancreas, however, it can also manifest itself later on, causing only low levels of inflammation that can last for months or even years.
Pancreatic Cancer is Deadly
Fortunately, pancreatic cancer is relatively rare, with only about 26,000 women being diagnosed each year. However, pancreatic cancer is among the highest in mortality rate as it is often not detected until it is too late to treat. This is because, in its early stages, pancreatic cancer often shows a minimum amount of symptoms.
Gallstones ARE a Big Deal
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, every year there are more than 200,000 people in the U.S. that develop pancreatitis. And in a vast number of those cases, the attack is trigger by gallstones, which are small, pebble-like masses that form in the gallbladder and can block the duck through which the digestive enzymes flow from the pancreas to the small intestine. If this happens, you need to visit a doctor immediately for medical attention.