The pancreas is an organ involved in the digestive system and endocrine systems of humans. Located in the upper left abdomen surrounding the small intestine, liver, and spleen. Furthermore, the pancreas plays an essential role in controlling bodily functions.
What is the role of the pancreas?
The pancreas secretes hormones such as glucagon, insulin, pancreatic polypeptide, and somatostatin that collaboratively regulate blood sugar levels in human beings. The pancreas secretes pancreatic juices rich in bicarbonates, trypsin, lipase, phospholipase, lysophospholipase, cholesterol esterase, and amylase essential for digesting carbohydrates, proteins, and triglycerides from the consumed food. Bicarbonate in the pancreatic juice helps in making the medium alkaline for enzymes to work efficiently.
The condition in which there is the uncontrolled growth of pancreatic cells is known as pancreatic cancer.
Causes Of Pancreatic Cancer
- Research evidence shows that pancreatic cancer is likely to develop due to genetic factors and genetic conditions such as Lynch syndrome and Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome.
- It has been found that cancerous elements develop near the pancreas rapidly in males above 55 years.
- Individuals with health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, inflammation of the pancreas, cirrhosis, and abdominal infections are at a greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
- A sedentary lifestyle can lead to the development of pancreatic cancer. Smoking, alcoholism, obesity, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits can lead to the development of cancer around the pancreas.
- People exposed to chemicals during dry cleaning or metal extraction are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
Signs and symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Generally, the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer appear in the last stages when cancerous cells have already expanded. The common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include abdominal pain, diabetes, unexplained tiredness, swelling of gallbladder or liver, backaches, loss of appetite, fatty stool, vomiting, indigestion, and diarrhea. However, people infected with the cancer of the pancreas may also experience jaundice, depression, and abnormal weight loss.
Stages of Pancreatic Cancer
According to the American Joint Committee on cancer, identifying the stage of pancreatic cancer is highly important to determine the kind of treatment it requires. The staging system helps to identify the extent of the tumor, spread of cancerous cells to surrounding lymph nodes and spread of the tumor to distant sites and organs. Therefore, there are five stages of pancreatic cancer.
In this stage, pancreatic cancer is present on the top layer of pancreatic ducts which is not visible on imaging tests. Stage 0 indicates that cancerous cells confine to the topmost layer only and no spreading has been there.
In Stage I, the cancerous cell grows to about 2 to 4 centimeters on the pancreas. The cells have not spread to surrounding lymph nodes, distant sites, and organs. It is strenuous to identify pancreatic cancer at this stage due to a lack of signs and symptoms.
The cancerous cells spread to the local pancreas and nearby lymph nodes in stage II. But infection does not spread to distant sites. During this stage, individuals may experience symptoms such as jaundice, abnormal weight loss, loss of appetite, change in urine color, and abdominal pain.
Stage III determines the wider spread of cancerous cells to lymph nodes and blood vessels. During this stage, individuals may experience symptoms such as back pain, fatigue, depression, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
In stage IV, the cancerous cells invade distant sites and organs such as the liver, brain, peritoneal, lungs, and bones. Severe abdominal pain, jaundice, excessive weight loss and fatigue, depression, and nausea are some symptoms that occur in stage IV.
Treatment Of Pancreatic Cancer
- Surgical removal of tumor and mass of cancerous cells helps in treating pancreatic cancer. But surgery application majorly depends on the location of cancer on the pancreas and the stage of cancer.
- If the cancer cells spread outside the pancreas, radiation therapy treats them. In radiation therapy, high-energy rays and beams kill cancer cells. Hence, it can be chemotherapy or targeted therapy.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
- Quitting smoking can help to reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
- Inactivity and sedentary lifestyle majorly influence obesity. Therefore, it is essential to exercise regularly.
- It is essential to keep a healthy diet rich in triglycerides, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates to develop a strong immunity.
Uncontrolled growth of pancreatic cells is referred to as pancreatic cancer that can negatively impact body functions. Abdominal pain, swelling of the gallbladder or liver, backaches, diabetes, unexplained tiredness, and diarrhea are some of the symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer. There are five stages of cancer of the pancreas depending on the extent of the tumor, the spread of cancerous cells to surrounding lymph nodes, and the spread of the tumor to distant sites and organs. Hence, individuals need to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle to prevent the spread of diseases.
Eating disorders are a type of psychological disorder characterized by abnormal eating habits. Biological and environmental factors play a massive negative impact on the eating habits of people. It leads to affecting their physical and mental health. Here are the types of eating disorders:
Anorexia nervosa is the most common type of eating disorder observed in adolescents. This eating disorder can lead to a severe loss of weight. Individuals with extreme fear of gaining weight can opt for a low-calorie diet. Some of the causes of Anorexia nervosa include the following.
- People with this have a negative self-body image and constantly try to lose weight. Research suggests that chemical messengers from the brain (such as serotonin) are the causative factors of Anorexia nervosa.
- Excessive social pressure from society, media, magazines, and the social environment can considerably influence adolescents.
- Individuals affected with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are more likely to develop Anorexia nervosa predisposing them to maintain unrealistic body images and strict diet.
The common symptoms of this include extreme fatigue, insomnia, thinning of hair follicles, inability to maintain a normal weight, irregular menstrual cycles, dry skin, yellow or blotchy skin, infertility, brittle nails, and low blood pressure. People with Anorexia nervosa exercise excessively, using diuretics, diet pills, and laxatives, and refraining from having meals. Irritability, withdrawal from social gatherings and activities, depression, and hunger denial are also common in such individuals. Hence, people with Anorexia nervosa possess a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight.
Bulimia nervosa is a type of eating disorder in which individuals eat unusually large amounts of food until the person becomes painfully full. The disease is characterized by binge eating followed by purging to remove the food from the digestive tract. Forced vomiting, exercising excessively, and using diuretics or laxatives can be some forms of purging. Individuals that are easily influenced by the media and entertainment industry are often diagnosed with Bulimia nervosa. Hence, individuals with anger issues, perfectionism, impulsiveness, and depression are more likely to develop Bulimia nervosa.
The common symptoms of this include extreme fear of gaining weight, stained teeth due to stomach acid, forceful vomiting, calluses on the back of hands, binge eating, and excessive exercise. It is common that such individuals have a negative body image, use diuretics, laxatives, or supplements for losing weight, and are preoccupied with thoughts about body weight. Such individuals use bathrooms immediately after meals to purge out the stomach content. Therefore, Bulimia Nervosa can lead to kidney failure, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, alcohol problems, dehydration, cardiac problems, tooth decay, deficiencies of nutrients, gum diseases, and chemical imbalances.
Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
This disorder is another category of eating disorder. This is common in infants and children. Here’s a list of factors leading to the development of Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.
- Children with past traumatic eating experiences such as choking or vomiting are more likely to develop Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.
- Children who do not prefer textures smells, and taste of food items are at a higher risk of developing.
- Emotional aspects of a child’s life are also a factor influencing this eating disorder. Lack of care or affection from parents can amplify the negative effect of this disease.
Underweight, irregular bowel movements, frequent irritable cries, vomiting, and social withdrawal are the common symptoms of Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.
Pica is a type of eating disorder in which individuals consume food items that have zero nutritional value and calorific value. This disorder can lead to lead poisoning in affected individuals. The Pica eating disorder is commonly diagnosed in males under the age of 13 having food allergies and gastrointestinal problems. People who have Pica consume food items such as ice, dirt, sand, buttons, chalk, glue, cigarette ashes, soap, paint, and feces. Pica eating disorder can lead to deficiencies of iron, zinc, and other essential minerals in the body. Dieting and malnourishment can lead to Pica disorder as such individuals develop a dependence on nonfood items to feel full. Hence, Pica eating disorder is precarious and can lead to poisoning, intestinal blockages, parasitic infections, and choking.
Furthermore, there are other types of eating disorders apart from the aforementioned types. These include binge eating disorder (BED), other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), unspecified feeding or eating disorder (USFED), rumination disorder, and compulsive overeating. Along with diabulimia, night eating syndrome, nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder, and orthopedic nervosa. Eating disorders can lead to serious body complications such as kidney failure, digestive problems, anxiety, dehydration, cardiac problems, depression, nutrient deficiencies, gum diseases, and chemical imbalances. Therefore, an eating disorder can be handled by individual therapies, group therapies, or family therapies helping individuals unburdening themselves.
Breast cancer is a commonly observed condition in women wherein a lump or aggregated mass of cells form on the breasts.
Breast cancer may begin in the duct carrying milk to the nipple, in the glands storing the breast milk, or in other breast tissues. Generally, mammograms, MRIs, Biopsy, and ultrasound help diagnose breast cancer.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Initial symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Development of lumps in the breast or armpit leading to thickening of the area.
- The common symptoms of breast cancer are pain, redness, or pitting of the breast skin, armpits, or nipples.
- Development of rashes around the nipples and scaling of breast or nipple is indicative of breast cancer.
- The presence of an inverted nipple, discharge of blood from nipples, or formation of lump or swelling under the arm also indicate the presence of breast cancer.
Causes of breast cancer
- Breast cancer is more likely to develop in females than males as the cells of female breasts expose to hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
- The condition is more likely to develop in females that have undergone breast biopsy associated with lobular carcinoma or breast hyperplasia.
- Women having a family history of breast cancer are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease particularly at a young age.
- Gene mutations are major factors governing breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are major generation mutations reports to be the cause of breast cancer.
- Age is also a factor that can lead to the development of lumps on breasts. Aged women are more likely to develop breast cancer compared to younger females.
- Alcohol elevates the risk of developing breast cancer. Along with alcoholism, obesity is also a cause of breast cancer.
- Women taking postmenopausal hormone therapy are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Radiation exposure certainly increases the chances of breast cancer. Therefore, women undergoing radiation treatment are more likely to develop breast cancer.
Stages of breast cancer
Breast cancer has five stages according to the tumor size and the area it spreads to. The stages of cancer help the doctors to determine whether the cancer is invasive or noninvasive if lymph nodes face effects, and if cancer has spread to nearby tissues and organs.
This stage determines the confinement of cancer to the ducts of the breast and nearby tissues only.
In this stage, lymph nodes remain unaffected. However, the tumor develops up to 2 cm near the breast. In the later part of this stage, cancerous elements develop near the lymph nodes.
The cancerous tumor spreads around 2 to 5 cm to the armpit lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are not affected in this stage.
The cancers spread to axillary lymph nodes affecting mammary nodes 4 to 9 cm. The tumor may invade the chest wall and skin up to few centimeters. Hence, in this stage, lymph nodes near the collarbone and internal mammary nodes get affected.
In this stage, the cancerous cell spreads to the nearby lymph nodes and organs including bones, brain, liver, or lungs affecting their functions adversely.
Treatment of breast cancer
Treatment of breast cancers depends on various factors such as type of breast cancer (Angiosarcoma, Ductal carcinoma in situ, Lobular carcinoma in situ, inflammatory breast cancer, or others), stage of cancer, patient’s age and overall health, and patient’s sensitivity to the hormones. Therefore, there are various types of treatment available for breast cancer.
Removal of the tumor and some amortizing healthy tissue around is surgical. The name of the procedure is lumpectomy. Removal of lobules, ducts, nipples, areola, lymph nodes, chest muscles, and fatty tissue takes place in a mastectomy.
The use of cytotoxic drugs can be extremely helpful in killing the cancerous cells and restricting their invasion and spreading.
Hormone blocking therapy
The doctors use hormone-blocking therapy to treat estrogen receptor-positive and progesterone receptor-positive cancers using hormones along with medications.
Biological treatment can be administered to the patients with the help of drugs to destroy cancerous cells.
So, the formation of lumps or aggregated mass of cells on the breasts indicates the presence of breast cancer. Some of the commonly observed signs and symptoms of breast cancer include pain, redness, or pitting of the breast skin, armpits, or nipples, development of rashes around the nipples, inverted nipple, discharge of blood from nipples, and formation of a lump or swelling in the armpits. Surgical procedures such as lumpectomy, mastectomy, axillary lymph nodes dissection, and sentinel node biopsy are necessary for the treatment of breast cancer. Hence, avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol, maintaining the body mass index (BMI), exercising, and following a balanced diet can be helpful to prevent breast cancer.
When the human body attacks its self cells and tissues, the condition is known as autoimmune disease. The immune system acts as a defense mechanism that fights against harmful foreign cells by producing antibodies.
In autoimmune diseases, the body fails to differentiate between self and foreign cells such as bacterias and viruses. Because of this, the body releases antibodies that attack healthy self cells. Autoimmune diseases may lead to abnormal growth of organs, tissue destruction, and alteration in organ functioning. Blood vessels, skin, red blood cells, endocrine glands, connective tissues, muscles, and joints can be affected due to autoimmune disease. Here is a list of the most common and dangerous autoimmune disorders.
Types Of Autoimmune Diseases
It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system produces antibiotics that affect the body’s joints. Symptoms of this include joint pain and soreness, swelling, redness, deformities in the joints, and joint stiffness. Medications, home remedies, and dietary changes help in controlling rheumatoid arthritis. This disease can be detected using the rheumatoid factor test, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, anti-citrullinated protein antibody test, and antinuclear antibody test.
Graves disease is a type of autoimmune disease that happens due to hyperthyroidism in which the body produces thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins. Hand tremors, unexplained fatigue, rapid heart rate, muscular weakness, swelling in the thyroid gland, disturbed sleep, and hearing intolerance are some of the symptoms that associate with this disease. Blood tests, thyroid-stimulating hormone tests, radioactive iodine uptake tests, and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin tests are necessary for diagnoses.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
There are two types of Autoimmune inflammatory bowel diseases namely Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. Inflammatory bowel diseases affect the intestinal walls by causing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, large intestine, and rectum. The occurrence of diarrhea, bleeding ulcers, stomach pain, abnormal weight loss, cramps in the stomach, and anemia are some of the symptoms associates with IBD. This autoimmune disease may lead to malnutrition, fistula, bowel obstruction, and colorectal cancer. However, inflammatory bowel disease can be confirmed by a stool sample, colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, etc.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the myelin that affects the central nervous system. The symptoms that associate with this are fatigue, numbness of limbs, difficulty balancing the body, optic neuritis that causes blurry vision, blindness, double vision, speech problems, tremors, and sleep problems. MRI scan, optical coherence tomography, visual evoked potential tests, and spinal tap are some of the tests used to diagnoses. There are very few treatment options for this disease. However, medications and disease-modifying therapies prove to be effective.
Psoriatic Arthritis is a condition wherein skin cells rapidly replicate leading to the formation of red patches and swelling on the skin. The symptoms of this include swelling in tender joints, scaly skin patches, swelling in toes and fingers, extreme fatigue, nail pitting, eye redness, and eye pain. In some cases, spinal pain and stiffness are also visible. Psoriatic arthritis treatment is by, using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biological drugs.
Type 1 Diabetes
Another type of autoimmune disease is type 1 diabetes in which the endocrine gland, pancreas damages leading to less production of insulin. Insulin is essential for the body for the breakdown and utilization of glucose. Because of less production of insulin, the glucose levels in the blood rise above normal. Excessive hunger, frequent urge to urinate, tiredness, dry skin, nausea, excessive thirst, and blur vision are some of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes. To treat juvenile diabetes, insulin injections, medications, and tuberculosis vaccinations prove to be productive. Therefore, the major method to control type 1 diabetes is through dietary control.
Addison’s disease is occurring due to abnormal functioning of the adrenal cortex leading to the unbalanced release of adrenal hormones. The symptoms that relate to this disease include nausea, tiredness, vomiting, depression, abnormal heart rate, loss of appetite, behavioral problems, hyperpigmentation, hypoglycemia, and sexual dysfunction. Hence, medications and alternative therapies are helpful to treat this autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the human body attacks its self cells and tissues. Blood vessels, skin, red blood cells, endocrine glands, connective tissues, muscles, and joints are some of the areas that autoimmune disease affects. General symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases include unexplained tiredness, trouble concentration, redness and swelling in affected areas, skin rashes, muscular pain, and numbness in limbs. Celiac disease, autoimmune vasculitis, pernicious anemia, etc. are also autoimmune diseases. Therefore, rheumatologists, dermatologists, and endocrinologists help in the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune diseases.