What are the risk factors of pancreatitis?

Gallstones are a major risk factor for acute pancreatitis; and alcoholism is a major cause of chronic pancreatitis, especially for men. Other causes include a blocked or narrowed pancreatic duct due to injury, or pseudocysts. Genetic factors (heredity), congenital conditions, cystic fibrosis, high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), high levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides, certain drugs, and some autoimmune conditions also increase the risk.

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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.