Alcohol and Pancreatitis
How excessive drinking affects the pancreas
The pancreas is the organ that secretes enzymes to break down and digest food in the stomach. Continuous and excessive heavy drinking exposes the pancreas to a serious illness known as Alcohol Pancreatitis, where the primary breakdown product of the alcohol (acetaldehyde) damages blood vessels, cells and tissue.
You can develop Pancreatitis if you continually drink to excess. The more alcohol you drink per day the greater your risk of developing Alcoholic Pancreatitis.
In Alcoholic Pancreatitis the pancreas tissue and blood vessels become inflamed and the pancreas cannot function properly. An inflamed pancreas can improve when you stop drinking or reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcohol Pancreatitis can become an irreversible condition and consistent alcohol damage increases the risk of developing Pancreatic Cancer.
Up to 10 per cent of continuous heavy drinkers develop Pancreatitis. Research suggests that additional factors to alcohol, such as cigarette smoking, diet, environmental stress and toxins, as well as genetics, may also contribute to developing Alcohol Pancreatitis.