Pancreatitis is classified as either acute or chronic.
Acute pancreatitis Acute Pancreatitis Acute pancreatitis is acute inflammation of the pancreas (and, sometimes, adjacent tissues). The most common triggers are gallstones and alcohol intake. The severity of acute pancreatitis is... read more is inflammation that resolves both clinically and histologically.
Chronic pancreatitis Chronic Pancreatitis Chronic pancreatitis is persistent inflammation of the pancreas that results in permanent structural damage with fibrosis and ductal strictures, followed by a decline in exocrine and endocrine... read more is characterized by histologic changes that are irreversible and progressive and that result in considerable loss of exocrine and endocrine pancreatic function. Patients with chronic pancreatitis may have a flare-up of acute disease.
Pancreatitis can affect both the exocrine and endocrine functions of the pancreas. Pancreatic cells secrete bicarbonate and digestive enzymes into ducts that connect the pancreas to the duodenum at the ampulla of Vater (exocrine function). Pancreatic beta cells secrete insulin directly into the bloodstream (endocrine function).