Pancreatic insufficiency occurs when the pancreas does not secrete enough chemicals and digestive enzymes
for normal digestion to occur.
When pancreatic insufficiency is severe, malabsorption
(impaired absorption of nutrients by the intestines) may result, leading to deficiencies of essential
nutrients and the occurrence of loose stools containing unabsorbed fat (steatorrhea).
Severe pancreatic insufficiency occurs in cystic fibrosis,
chronic pancreatitis, and surgeries of the gastrointestinal system in which portions of the stomach or
pancreas are removed. Certain gastrointestinal diseases, such as stomach ulcers,1celiac
Crohn’s disease,3 and autoimmune disorders,
such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE),4, 5, 6 may contribute to the development
of pancreatic insufficiency. Mild forms of pancreatic insufficiency are often difficult to diagnose, and
there is controversy among researchers regarding whether milder forms of pancreatic insufficiency need
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that reduces the function of the pancreas, causing
pancreatic insufficiency, malabsorption, and diabetes.7 Acute pancreatitis is
usually a temporary condition and can be caused by gallstones,
excessive alcohol consumption, high blood triglycerides,
abdominal injury, and other diseases, and by certain medications and poisons.8 Chronic
pancreatitis is a slow, silent process that gradually destroys the pancreas and is most often caused by
excessive alcohol consumption.