Doctors diagnose chronic pancreatitis using symptoms and the patient's history, especially looking for alcoholism. Symptoms of abdominal pain; oily stools; loss of weight; and difficulty digesting food all lead the doctor to suspect chronic pancreatitis. CT scans (computed tomography) and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) can be used to determine how the condition is progressing and where the problem is.
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Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
Your doctor will first take your medical history and then run some lab tests, including blood sugar and certain enzyme levels. Tests of fat absorption are helpful.
Certain radiology tests, including stomach and chest X-rays, CT scan, and ultrasound, may also be performed.
There's also a test that's very specific to pancreatic problems, called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). An endoscope is a flexible tube that has a mini-camera attached. While you're mildly sedated, this tube goes down your throat and the camera lets your doctor do an internal exam. An ERCP is an endoscopic exam that looks directly at the two main sites of pancreatic problems, the bile and pancreatic ducts, after a dye has been injected to highlight them.