The Top Three Types of Pancreas Problems

There are three main types of pancreas problems:

Type 2 diabetes


Pancreatic cancer

All three have similar symptoms but each has very different outcomes.  Put simply, pancreatitis can be treated but by the time cancer of the pancreas becomes symptomatic it is usually beyond the point where treatment can prevent a negative outcome.

The pancreas is an exocrine gland that releases insulin and pancreatic juices that aid us in digestion. For this reason, many of the symptoms of pancreas problems increase when people eat.

Let’s begin by considering the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, since its symptoms are the shortest and simplest to note.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes:

Extreme Need to both Drink and Pee: Type 2 Diabetes disables the insulin making abilities in the pancreas.  The main pancreas problems this causes are increases in both the sufferer’s need for liquid intake and his need for fluid expulsion (peeing).  This takes place over time.

Exhaustion: Pancreas problems due to Type 2 Diabetes also involve an extreme lack of energy.  The sufferer has difficulty staying awake and mustering the willpower to go through the day normally.

Those are the main symptoms of pancreas problems that arise from Type 2 Diabetes.


Now, here is a list of pancreas symptoms for pancreatitis.  Be aware there are two different forms of pancreatitis, acute (which comes on suddenly but only once) and chronic (which repeatedly occurs—often becoming worse over time):

Symptoms of Pancreatitis:

Flu-Like Symptoms: Fever, vomiting, diarrhea--all the typical symptoms of the flu are usually present in both acute and chronic pancreatitis.  These symptoms will sometimes mask the real problem that is occurring, fouling the sufferer into believing they just have caught a really bad bug.

Blackish, petroleum spill like stools: As your pancreas begins to fail, poops will often take on a black, tar-like appearance.

Pain: Regardless of what the cause, the sufferer will usually experience a strong pain in the abdomen.  This pain will tend to be stronger just after the sufferer has eaten, but might not completely go away even after that.  In the case of acute vs. chronic pancreatitis, the pain might occur so suddenly that the sufferer has little preparation.

Rapid Pulse and Anxiety: One of the most unusual of the symptoms of acute pancreatitis is an increased heart rate and the emotional symptom of anxiety. Typically, the sufferer will also break into a feverish sweat as well.  All of these are signs of something being out of balance in the sufferer’s internal organs.

Swelling and Sensitivity: In acute pancreatitis, the abdomen will often balloon up to where it can be felt on palpitation of the stomach area.  It will also be sharply painful to the touch.

Weight Decrease: Sudden and unexplained loss of body mass is usually a sign of underlying problems.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer:

Discoloration of Skin or Pee: A key sign that pancreas problems are causing your internal organs to fail is a change of color in either your skin or your pee. If your skin becomes yellowish, this is known as jaundice; it is a sign that either your liver or pancreas have stopped functioning properly.  If your pee comes out a dark color, this indicates your urine is no longer being filtered.  Both are a strong indicator that at least one of your internal organs has almost completely stopped functioning.

Lack of hunger, difficulties digesting and weight decrease: Because the patient tends to feel discomfort just after she eats, often she will start to lose the desire to eat.  A further weight decrease disproportionate to diet or exercise may also accompany the loss of appetite.  Often, even if the patient is still eating normally, they will record a sudden loss of body mass.  This sudden disappearance is almost always a sign of some underlying serious condition and should always be checked out when noticed.

Lack of Strength: A general feeling of weakness or lack of energy often accompanies these other symptoms.

Pain: As with pancreatitis, the central problem the patient feels is often pain. This pain might be felt either directly over the abdominal region or it may stretch across a sufferer’s back. By the time pancreatic cancer has progressed to the point that the patient feels pain, however, most treatment options have already been exhausted and the patient is often only left with palliative care as an option.  Typically, the sufferer is a person of advanced age.

If you feel any combination of these pancreas problems, it is important to get it checked out as soon as possible.  Early detection and treatment is often the difference between life and death.