Chronic pancreatitis is a persistent inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach. It secretes digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon. The persistent inflammation leads to the destruction of the functioning glandular tissue in the pancreas. The pancreatic digestive enzymes are not produced, resulting in an inability to properly digest and absorb fat in the diet. There is also a decrease in the production of insulin. Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of this condition. Hemochromatosis (a condition of excess iron in the blood) and cystic fibrosis are other known causes. The incidence of chronic pancreatitis is 2 cases per 10,000 individuals. Men are affected more often than women. Chronic pancreatitis is detected by reviewing the individual's history. Samples of blood are taken to look for the changes associated with this disease.
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