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What is autoimmune pancreatitis?

Q: Can you tell me what is autoimmune pancreatitis? How it is caused and what is the period of treatment? I have been suffering from this for the past year and I am on treatment. Please elaborate on it. I had pancreatic attacks last year and was admitted in the ICU. The first time, my oxygen saturation dropped drastically as the enzymes spread to the lungs. Right now I get myself checked for IgG4 levels, which were 747 last year. I am on and off Wysolone 5 mg and Creon 10000 3 caps/day. Please advise.

A:Autoimmune disorders are chronic inflammation brought on by imbalance in the immune system of the body. When this occurs body cells fight each other and various organs get targeted i.e., the thyroid, kidneys, muscles heart and so many others. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, brought on by the autoimmune disorder and to occur in isolation is rare. The mechanism attacks the pancreatic gland causing inflammation, which leads to pain and discharge of the digestive enzymes produced by the gland, which in turn can cause injury to the gland. It is a recurrent condition but can be kept under control be taking therapy regularly with pancreatic enzyme supplements for digestion of normal day-to-day meals. The gland also produces insulin, which is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels and patients may need insulin regularly. Pain can be a problem needing painkiller tablets on a regular basis. Diet control is also essential part of the management. All autoimmune disorders get treated with corticosteroids with benefit but one needs to be careful in pancreatitis as the treatment can upset the sugar balance. Immuno-suppressive treatments are widely available and I suggest you to consult a gastroenterologist for appropriate treatment and regular follow up.

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