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Pancreatitis, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits

For more information on:   Social Security Disability and SSI Disability.

The pancreas is a gland, located between the upper small intestine and the spleen. It plays an important role in metabolism and digestion by secreting digestive enzymes and releasing glucagon and insulin into the bloodstream necessary for the body to digest food and turn it into energy.

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that is caused by the digestive enzymes becoming active inside the pancreas, which results in enzymes ‘digesting’ or attacking the pancreas itself. Normally these digestive enzymes do not become active until they have reached the small intestine.

Pancreatitis may be acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis appears suddenly and usually becomes resolved and leaves quickly. Chronic pancreatic appears gradually over time and causes a slow destruction of the pancreas. In both cases the sufferer will experience abdominal pain that can range from mild to severe, sometimes accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting. Either acute or chronic pancreatitis can cause serious or fatal complications and should be checked and treated right away. If left untreated bleeding may occur and infection and toxins may damage other organs, such as the kidneys, lungs or heart.

The most common causes of pancreatitis are gallstones and excessive alcohol use, though there are other notable causes, such as scorpion venom, mumps, trauma, steroids, other diseases, hereditary genes and certain medications. Cystic fibrosis and high levels of calcium in the blood may also be causes, as well as a plethora of other causes.

Pancreatitis is usually diagnosed with a physical exam and a blood test. If the blood contains three times the amount of amylase and lipase as it should, coupled with abdominal pain, the doctor will usually follow up with a CT scan to show gallstones, inflammation and psuedocysts.

Treatment for pancreatitis, whether acute or chronic, depends on how severe it is and whether there were complications in the other organs. A supplementation of enzymes and a healthy diet can sometimes reverse acute pancreatitis, though medical care is imperative to avoid complications. Acute pancreatitis can be as fatal as chronic pancreatitis, especially if it is not treated right away.

In either acute or chronic pancreatitis a hospital stay to help hydrate the patient may be necessary, in addition to intravenous feeding. Antibiotics may be prescribed for infection. Oxygen may be administered. Surgery may be needed if bleeding occurs and dialysis may be used to help remove toxins from the blood.

Pancreatitis can be fatal. Any abdominal pain should be reported to a doctor and treated right away.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related Body System Impairments:

Addison's disease and Filing for Disability
Peripheral Neuropathy and Filing for Disability
Peripheral Neuropathy, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Cushing's Syndrome and Filing for Disability
Gastric Bypass and Filing for Disability
Hypothyroidism and Filing for Disability
Hyperthyroidism and Filing for Disability
Inflammatory bowel disease and Filing for Disability
Irritable bowel syndrome and Filing for Disability
Morbid Obesity and Filing for Disability
Pancreatitis and Filing for Disability
POS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Filing for Disability
Type 2 Diabetes and Filing for Disability
Pancreatitis, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria