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An enlarged pancreas can occur for many reasons. The pancreas is a gland that sits behind your stomach in the upper abdomen and helps with digestion. It produces enzymes that are secreted into the small intestine, digesting protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The pancreas also produces insulin to help regulate blood sugar (glucose), the body's main source of energy. Causes of an Enlarged Pancreas An enlarged pancreas may mean nothing. You may simply have a pancreas that is larger than normal. Or, it can be because of an anatomic abnormality. But other causes of an enlarged pancreas may include the following: Pancreatitis occurs when digestive enzymes become active inside the pancreas, attacking and damaging its tissues. This can cause an enlarged pancreas. Acute pancreatitis is inflammation that occurs suddenly in the pancreas. It can be very serious, even life-threatening. But it usually goes away within a few days of treatment. Gallstones and alcohol are common causes of acute pancreatitis. Other causes include high levels of fats in the blood, certain drugs, certain medical procedures, and some infections. Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation that gets worse over time and leads to permanent damage in the pancreas. Heavy alcohol use is the most common cause. Other causes include heredity, cystic fibrosis, high levels of calcium or fats in the blood, certain medications, and some autoimmune conditions. Pancreatic pseudocyst is an accumulation of fluid and tissue debris in the pancreas, which can occur after a case of pancreatitis. Cystadenoma is a tumor that is usually benign. Abscess is a pus-filled cavity, usually caused by a bacterial infection. A pancreatic pseudocyst that becomes infected can become an abscess. Pancreatic cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the pancreas that can spread to other parts of the body.
The liver weighs about 3 pounds and is the largest solid organ in the body. It performs many important functions, such as: Manufacturing blood proteins that aid in clotting, oxygen transport, and immune system function Storing excess nutrients and returning some of the nutrients to the bloodstream Manufacturing bile, a substance needed to help digest food Helping the body store sugar (glucose) in the form of glycogen Ridding the body of harmful substances in the bloodstream, including drugs and alcohol Breaking down saturated fat and producing cholesterol Cirrhosis is a slowly progressing disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, eventually preventing the liver from functioning properly. The scar tissue blocks the flow of blood through the liver and slows the processing of nutrients, hormones, drugs, and naturally produced toxins. It also slows the production of proteins and other substances made by the liver. According to the National Institutes of Health, cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death by disease. What Causes Cirrhosis of the Liver? Hepatitis C, fatty liver, and alcohol abuse are the most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver in the U.S., but anything that damages the liver can cause cirrhosis, including: Fatty liver associated with obesity and diabetes Chronic viral infections of the liver (hepatitis types B, C, and D; Hepatitis D is extremely rare) Blockage of the bile duct, which carries bile formed in the liver to the intestines, where it helps in the digestion of fats; in babies, this can be caused by biliary atresia in which bile ducts are absent or damaged, causing bile to back up in the liver. In adults, bile ducts may become inflamed, blocked, or scarred, due to another liver disease called primary biliary cirrhosis. Repeated bouts of heart failure with fluid backing up into the liver Certain inherited diseases such as: Cystic fibrosis Glycogen storage diseases, in which the body is unable to process glycogen, a form of sugar that is converted to glucose and serves as a source of energy for the body Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, an absence of a specific enzyme in the liver Diseases caused by abnormal liver function, such as hemochromatosis, a condition in which excessive iron is absorbed and deposited into the liver and other organs, and Wilson's disease, caused by the abnormal storage of copper in the liver Although less likely, other causes of cirrhosis include reactions to prescription drugs, prolonged exposure to environmental toxins, or parasitic infections.

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