Pancreatitis Supporters Newsletter Number Seven
"Hello fellow sufferers, I am a comparatively new entrant to pancreatitis, my first attack having taken place in December 1993. After having a substantial number of scans, I have now been told that my pancreas has healed. In the meantime, however, I have lost well over a stone in weight.
Is there anyone out there who has also
suffered a weight loss?
Have you managed to regain any weight?
What procedure did you adopt?
I also suffer from bouts of tiredness - I can be full of life one minute and no energy half an hour later. Is this common?
Is there anyone with a similar problem?
Did you receive help for this and if so, what?"
The above was submitted to me by Joan Hemingway. Anyone out there like to send in thoughts and comments?
Famous People with Pancreatitis
One of the all-time greats of the Jazz world died 9 January 1993, at the age of 75. Dizzie Gillespie, the son of a bricklayer was born in South Carolina in 1917, and took up the trombone when he was 12. He won a scholarship, but abandoned his training before his last year when he joined his first band.
Always the innovator, Dizzy soon began
taking jazz to new heights.
With his own big band, he bought in the Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo,
bringing Latin rythms to his music. In 1953, after an accident
in which someone sat on his trumpet, he found that the upward tilt
of the bell improved the sound - and ever after had his instruments
made this way. As well as being a musician he also ran for
President in the write-in vote in 1964. He remained a towering figure
until his death, from pancreatic cancer listening to Dizzy's Dime,
one of his most
I thought that you may be interested to know of some of the famous people who have had pancreatitis. Apart from Jeffrey Bernard - who still suffers from it. Martin Landon from "Little House on the Prarie" fame died from cancer of the pancreas as well as Dizzie Gillespie shown in the middle column here. The last two people were written about in Hello Magazine and I have written to them to inform them of our existence. Also, we are becoming topical! Note: Beth's friend, played by Sylvia Simms in the TV programme "Peak Practice." They also have our name as a contact point. (Italics are my own personal comments - Editor)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT PANCREATIC DISEASE - Submitted by C D Johnson, Secretary, Pancreatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis means inflammation of the
pancreas. There are
two main types of pancreatitis, acute and
chronic. Acute pancreatitis will get better completely and will not
recur if its cause can be removed. The commonest cause of acute
in this country is gallstones, which are relatively easy to deal
A single attack of acute pancreatitis
caused by gallstones, which gets better and is
followed by appropriate treatment of the gallstones should
not cause long term problems.
Chronic pancreatitis is a very different disease. It leads to progressive destruction of the pancreas and may be associated with repeated attacks of pain or almost constant severe abdominal pains. Gradually the pancreas is destroyed and then becomes unable to produce sufficient enzymes to allow proper digestion of food. Enzyme supplements may be necessary.
Insulin is produced in the pancreas, and so people with severe chronic pancreatitis may also become diabetic.
What causes chronic pancreatitis?
In Europe and North America almost all cases of chronic pancreatitis are caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Many cases in the United Kingdom are also related to alcohol, but there seems to be a higher proportion of cases in this country which are caused by inherited factors (familial pancreatitis) for which no cause can be found. This is probably because the overall levels of alcohol consumption are low, so the numbers of alcohol related cases is also relatively low.
How can I modify my diet and daily activities to help treat pancreatitis?
The single most important change that any sufferer from chronic pancreatitis can make is to stop drinking alcohol. Even if your pancreatitis is not directly caused by alcohol, it is likely that drinking alcohol will harm the pancreas because it stimulates the production of a thick, sticky pancreatic juice which tends to clog the pancreatic ducts. This adds to the drainage already taking place in the pancreas.
It is probably also helpful to stop
because smoking stresses the body's
natural defence mechanisms against inflammation
and may contribute to the damage occurring in the pancreas.
A well balanced diet is probably helpful. You need not restrict fatty food and in fact an adequate intake of fat may help to prevent weight loss. If you have access to a dietician, you should ask for advice on how to maintain an intake of 100 grams of fat and 100 grams of protein each day. If this diet causes symptoms such as diarrhoea or looseness of stools it is better to begin or increase the dose of pancreatic enzyme supplements rather than to cut down the amount you are eating.
Can vitamin supplements help?
There is some evidence that antioxidants help to protect against inflammation in a wide variety of diseases There are many vitamin preparations with added antioxidants available from chemists and Health Food shops. These preparations will certainly do no harm, and some patients find their pain is less severe or less frequent when they are taking them. Look out for formulations which contain vitamin C, vitamin E and Selenium .
(Interesting the information about fat
consumption - Editor)
Benefits Section - Relating to the UK only
1) COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT
If you are living in the one room through Pancreatitis or you have a room set aside DOWNSTAIRS for your sole use and have to use a commode or downstairs toilet you should be eligible for the Disabled Persons Council Tax Relief. This will drop your house into the next lowest Council Tax band. Eg If you are in Band B you will drop to Band A. However if you are already in A you cannot get this benefit.
2) SEVERE DISABLEMENT ALLOWANCE
If you are of working age but have not paid enough NI contributions you should be eligible for this one but see the information in the following column.
MORE BENEFITS NEXT NEWSLETTER.
Get the booklet "WHICH BENEFIT" for more information from your local Post Office or Social Security Office
Some of you will no doubt have had problems with getting benefits with a condition such as Pancreatitis. For those of you claiming for SDA (Severe Disability Allowance) you may be interested to know about a case that went to Tribunal and the member was assessed as follows:
Condition: Chronic Pancreatitis
Disability (if any): Severe abdominal pain
% Disablement (if any): 55%
It was most important to stress on your application the depression caused by this condition as was the following outcome from the Tribunal:
Disability (if any): Impairment of enjoyment of life
% Disablement (if any): 10%
Now for those of you quick on the uptake you will realise that you have to be MORE than 80% disabled to claim SDA and the total only comes to 65%, however this member had other conditions as well. It is probable that if you have a sympathetic Doctor you may be able to come up with other qualifying conditions to help you in your claim for SDA. This I hope will explain why you will NOT get it on Pancreatitis alone and ALSO acts as a guide for the rest of us in filling in DLA forms (Disability Living Allowance Forms).
Note: I have not revealed the members name nor will I.
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