You are at increased risk for pancreatitis if you have a family history of pancreatitis, as it can be hereditary. If close relatives have had pancreatitis due to genetic illnesses or abnormalities of the pancreas you may be more likely to have pancreatitis.
Drinking large quantities of alcohol on a daily basis over a period of time may also increase your risk of pancreatitis. Alcohol slowly clogs small ducts leading out of the pancreas, causing a build-up of digestive enzymes that attack the pancreatic tissue. Although it is not clear why, if you are male you have a higher risk of having both acute and chronic pancreatitis.