Organs are our friends: The Pancreas
Number two in our series of organs is the pancreas. It is a squiggly little organ that sits behind the stomach. It is about six inches long but it is a work horse. When it is healthy all is right with the world! When it shuts down or acts up, there is serious trouble afoot.
What does it do?
Well, it doesn’t think like Mr. Fancy pants brains or get the blood pumping like Ms. Heart, but it has some amazing functions.
The pancreas: Helps in both the endocrine and digestive systems
Ok, I will simplify. It makes enzymes that aid in digestion and help with absorbing nutrients in your body.
It also creates hormones such as INSULIN ( caps on purpose) and glucagon. These hormones help regulate the sugar levels in your body. The pancreas is known to create over two dozen hormones and enzymes. Not glamorous work, but important work indeed.
When bad things happen to good organs:
Like any body part, the pancreas is subject to damage. It can be from genetic defects, bad diet, injury, disease, or chemical imbalances within the body.
Diseases featuring malfunctioning Pancreas: Here are the most prevalent illnesses
Diabetes Type I and II: Type one is known as an autoimmune disease and will require insulin injections for life, Type II has several causes but when it involves the pancreas it is due to insulin resistance in the body. Some people take medication, others change their diet, most do both.
Cystic Fibrosis: Caused by genetic abnormalities, fibrous cysts cause damage and can lead to complications with digestion, diabetes, and more.
Pancreatitis: The pancreas has an overflow of the digestive chemicals it produces and this can cause damage. Some blame it on alcoholism and gall bladder stones but it can have idiopathic causes as well.
Pancreatic Cancer: Many feel this is the worst kind of ailment. It involves cancerous tumors arising from various pancreatic cells. The main issue with this type of cancer is it has a high mortality rate. It is also found in families. Often by the time it is diagnosed, it is advanced and the cells have spread to the gallbladder, stomach, intestines, and etc. I have volunteered in the past for the fight against this disease, they are a long way to finding a solution.
What organ shall we look at next?
Let me know! I am at: AskMelissa@melissaweblog.com
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