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Pancreas

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Pancreas and Duodenum.jpg
Pancreas Gray's Anatomy.jpg

The pancreas is a small gland organ that creates hormones as well as enzymes for assisting digestion. It has two different systems: one is the endocrine function and the other is the exocrine. Insulin, glucagon and somatostatin are produced in the endocrine system of pancreas. On the other hand, the exocrine system of the pancreas produces digestive enzymes to break down and assist with the ingestion of food.

Most patients who experience trouble with their pancreas would have to worry about pancreatic cancer, because, pancreatic cancer cells spread rapidly throughout the body and they are the fastest among the cancer cells. However, there is always treatment exist for the pancreatic cancer. The most common treatment is chemotherapy that destroys cancer cells by administering anticancer drugs. Also, patients are suggested to take minerals that can prevent the cancer and help the growth of normal cells. [1] [2]

Functions

The pancreas is an organ that is positioned furthest back of the stomach that creates insulin, glucagon and somatostatin; which help the body's digestion and metabolism. There are two different systems of hormones that help the digestion, which are the endocrine system and the exocrine system. [1] Both the endocrine and the exocrine systems hold cells that help the digestion by breaking down the edible material with hormones. When the food is transported to the stomach, few acids help the stomach to break down and then the broken food transport it into small intestine where the pancreas hormones wrap up the digestion. [1]

Endocrine

Endocrine pancreas create and develope hormones.

The endocrine pancreas holds only a small part of the pancreas' system. The endocrine pancreas is mainly composed of endocrine cells, which are called pancreatic Islets. Islets are the cells that create and develope the hormone such as insulin and give off and emit hormones like glucagon and somatostatin. [1] Islets are composed of three different cells that create hormones. For instance, Alpha cells, also known as A cells create glucagon that advances the balance of hormones. Moreover, Beta cells, also known as B cells, create insulin that manages the level of carbohydrate in human body. In addition, Delta cells, also known as D cells, create somatostatin that causes the declining of the human growth. These three cells are main components of the endocrine system of the pancreas. [2]

Exocrine

The exocrine system component of the pancrease creates the substances known as enzymes that help the bile to ingest the food. [1] The exocrine system of the pancreas is made of more than two components that helps digestion; enzymes and bicarbonate. There are 3 types of digestive enzymes. Proteases, trypsin and chymotrypsin, are used to break down proteins. Trypsin and chymotrypsin are usually inactive when they are not at work, therefore, they are treated as hazardous or troubling enzymes. However, as soon as they are put into the work, they alter into the active arrangements.[3] They make the protein into the smaller form, so that the body can absorb the protein more effectively and faster than the bigger form of the protein. [4] Another type of the digestive enzymes is pancreatic lipase, which is usually used in breaking down the fat. Pancreatic lipase works different from proteases that it breaks down the amount of the cells in the fat, not the size of the fat. Pancreatic lipase works together with bile. Bile is a fluid that created by liver that helps to ingest the fat. This shows that pancreatic lipase takes part in controling human's body weight. The last type of the digestive enzyme is amylase, which usually used in breaking down the carbohydrate. Amylase works similar to proteases that it breaks down the size of the carbohydrate and also it saves some of the energy such as carbohydrates. [3]

Hormones

The pancreas is an organ that helps other organs to work more efficiently and faster by providing hormones like insulin, glucagon and somatostatin.

Insulin

Insulin controls the sugar balance in the blood.

Insulin is the most common hormone that created by the pancreas. Insulin usually works as an assistant by controling the sugar balance in the body. The pancreas is composed of three cells, beta cells, alpha cells and delta cells. Insulin is made out of beta cells that it only works when the sugar contained food, like carbohydrate, comes into the body. This means, if the fat or protein comes into the body, then beta cells do not give off insulin for the hormone balance. Insulin supports many other organs other than pancreas. It works on liver to help bile to work more efficiently and it also works for muscles that it helps muscle to transform the sugar. [5]

Glucagon

Glucagon works a little differently from insulin. Insulin is used for controling the sugar balance in the body, but glucagon is used for breaking down the fat and advancing the balance of hormones. Glucagon is created out of alpha cells that maninly works for the liver. As one start eating food that contains fat, then alpha cells in the pancreas create appropriate amount of glucagon to break down the fat into the smaller form. So that the body can absorb the fat easier and faster. In addition, glucagon has similar function to that of insulin. Glucagon also transforms the sugar and it manages the sugar balance in the body. This means, insulin plays the lead role and glucagon plays the supporting role. [6]

Somatostatin

Unlike insulin and glucagon, somatostatin works in diversity. Insulin only works for controling the sugar balance in the body with the liver fluids. Glucagon works similar to insulin and additionally, it breaks down the fat and protein. However, somatostatin works in many other organs and systems in the body. It works in liver, pancreas, nervous system and other organs and systems that contains delta cells. Somatostatin is created out of delta cells that spreaded throughout the entire body. Somatostatin works as an assistant to insulin and glucagon. [6]

Disease

Tumors

Cancer of the Pancreas.

The pancreas is positioned in a very tangled and intricated area where it is hard to recognize without using the latest technology. The pancreas is composed of completely different kinds of cells that could cause different kinds of diseases. There are many kinds of tumors that could occur in pancreas, such as pancreatic cancer, endocrine cell tumors, exocrine cell tumors and many other pancreas diseases. Among those diseases pancreatic cancer is the most common tumor that could occur in human body. Especially, the cancer adenocarcinoma takes place in the pancreas the most. Adenocarcinoma is one of the most dangerous disease that can lead people to the deaths, because the cancer cells spread out faster in pancreas than in other organs. [7]

Causes of the pancreatic cancer include: smoking cigarettes, eating habits, diabetes and family history of pancreatic cancer. First, smoking cigarette is most likely to cause the pancreatic cancer, because, tobacco contains about thousands of carcinogens or cancer causing agents like tar, dioxin, carbon monoxide and potassium cyanide. Those carcinogens easily damage the pancreas that could cause pancreas to stop perform its functions. Second, eating habits could also cause the pancreatic cancer. Pancreas helps to break down the nutrients with its hormones, however, if one eats food with high cholesterol or fat, then the pancreas would collapsed from working too severely. Third, diabetes could cause the cancer, because if the blood contains too much sugar, then pancreas would have to provide a great deal of insulin to the body. A lot of hormones in the body could cause the cancer in the pancreas. Fourth, if one has any family members with pancreatic cancer, then one has to doubt about himself as a pancreatic cancer patient. Because, pancreatic cancer has an inclination of heredity. [8] It is hard to observe or note about indications during its embryonic stages of development. However, patients can make assumptions that they are having pancreatic cancer by few symptoms. Patients can feel pain in the abdomen and it will feel like buring inside of the stomach, they will get jaundice and they can see the color of their urine is getting darker and darker. When people have same symptoms like the list above, then they have to get blood check as soon as possible, because, pancreatic cancer cells spread all over the body very quickly. [7]

Treatment

Chemotherapy kills cancer cells with anticancer drugs.

Treatment differs betweenthe type of the disease and the seriousness of the disease. If it is only chronic pancreatitis and acute pancreatitis, patient can take medicines like, pain killers or medicine that contains enzymes related chemicals. So that the patient can stamp out the pain. However, if the medicine cannot be controlled, then patient should take insulin that controls the sugar balance in the body. Other than the medicines, chemotherapy and surgery can be used as treatment. Usually cancer cells spread two times faster than normal cells, so that something has to be done before cancer cells spread throughout the body. The purpose of using chemotherapy is to destroy cancer cells by administering anticancer drugs. If chemotherapy is not working for the patient, then the patient should think about surgery. However, pancreatic cancer can come back at anytime, so that patients should eat healthy food and exercise everyday. Also, patients are recommended to take vitamins and minerals, especially barium, magnesium, calcium and other minerals that help the growth of normal cells. [9]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 http://pathology.jhu.edu/pancreas/BasicOverview3.php?area=ba
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/pancreas/anatomy.html
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://biology.about.com/library/organs/bldigestpan2.htm
  4. http://www.mamashealth.com/organs/pancreas.asp
  5. http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Pancreas.html
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://ezinearticles.com/?How-The-Pancreas-Produces-Insulin&id=531151
  7. 7.0 7.1 http://www.mayoclinic.org/pancreatic-cancer/tumors.html
  8. http://www.surgery.usc.edu/divisions/tumor/pancreasdiseases/web%20pages/pancreas%20cancer/Adenocarcinoma%20of%20pancreas.html
  9. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/280605-treatment

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