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Hereditary Pancreatitis (HP)

WHAT IS HEREDITARY PANCREATITIS (HP)?

At Loma Linda University Health, our pancreatic team is specially trained to deal with multiple pancreatic conditions including hereditary pancreatitis. As a result:

  • We treat more pancreatic disorders than any other center in the region.
  • We offer the full range of diagnostic and treatment services, including minimally invasive procedures for pancreatic cysts, interventional endoscopic ultrasound, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) and endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP).
  • We offer the most advanced treatments and technologies found only in major metropolitan academic medical center.s
  • Our specialists are all board-certified in gastroenterology and surgery with advanced training and experience in this area.
  • As a teaching hospital, our gastroenterologists and surgeons work together with other specialists on the health care team to treat complex pancreas and biliary conditions in a single team approach.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEREDITARY PANCREATITIS?

Much like other forms of pancreatitis, hereditary pancreatitis symptoms include:

  • Severe abdominal pain that may feel worse after eating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

You may also experience:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever
  • Swelling and feeling sore or tender in the upper belly/abdomen
  • Fluid buildup in the abdomen
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

WHAT CAUSES HEREDITARY PANCREATITIS?

Hereditary pancreatitis is caused by mutations in certain genes that runs in families. It can be made worse by doing things like smoking, drinking and overeating.

HOW IS HEREDITARY PANCREATITIS DIAGNOSED?

Hereditary pancreatitis is diagnosed in much the same way as any other form of pancreatitis. This starts with a medical history and examination. This may be followed up with a variety of other tests to screen for pancreatitis. However, genetic testing is needed to confirm if it is hereditary pancreatitis. Loma Linda University Health offers the most advanced diagnostic and treatment services for all pancreatic conditions.

HOW IS HEREDITARY PANCREATITIS TREATED?

At this time, there is no cure for HP. Treating the symptoms associated with it is the choice method of medical management. Patients may be prescribed pancreatic enzyme supplements to treat maldigestion, insulin to treat diabetes and analgesics and narcotics to control pain. Dietary recommendations to help control pain with digestion include the consumption of small meals throughout the day.

Exposure to smoking and alcohol are known to dramatically increase the risk for pancreatic attacks among individuals with HP. Smoking doubles the risk for pancreatic cancer. Similarly, alcohol consumption is not recommended for these patients because alcohol is a known risk factor for both acute and chronic pancreatitis. Therefore, it is recommended that all HP patients avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.

At Loma Linda University Health, hereditary pancreatitis is treated with a customized care plan for the individual patient. We should be your number one choice for the treatment of pancreatitis because:

  • We treat more pancreatic disorders than any other center in the region.
  • We offer the full range of diagnostic and treatment services, including minimally invasive procedures for pancreatic cysts.
  • Our specialists are all board-certified in gastroenterology and surgery with advanced training and experience in this area.
  • Our gastroenterologists and surgeons work together with other specialists on the healthcare team to treat complex pancreas and biliary conditions in a single team approach.

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF HEREDITARY PANCREATITIS?

Complications of hereditary pancreatitis are similar to those in other types of pancreatitis, including:

  • Occasional or constant abdominal pain
  • Maldigestion with symptoms of gas and bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Protein and vitamin deficiency
  • Diabetes
  • Necrotizing pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic cancer

WHO IS AT RISK FOR HEREDITARY PANCREATITIS?

People at risk for developing hereditary pancreatitis are those with one or more immediate family members who have hereditary pancreatitis.

NEXT STEPS

  • Stay informed. If someone in your immediate family has hereditary pancreatitis, it’s important to be aware of this so you can make lifestyle changes and take other preventive measures now.
  • Make healthy choices. Lifestyle plays a major role in the prevention of pancreatitis. If you are at risk because of any of the lifestyle factors listed here, take steps to change those habits immediately.
  • Seek medical intervention. Being proactive is important. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of hereditary pancreatitis, request an evaluation at Loma Linda University Health. Contact your provider or schedule the appointment through MyChart.