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Avatar universal

Connection Between Chronic Pancreatitis/Idiopathic and Liver Disease

I am a 51 yr. old mother of three daughters - ages 11,14, and 17.  I work full time and 4 yrs. ago I was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis of an idiopathic nature.  I have recurrent stenosis of my biliary ducts and severe gastroparesis.  My biliary ducts have been reopened several times in the past four years.  I am careful about what I eat, no dairy, little or no fat, and no red meat. I don't drink alcohol and have never smoked or used drugs.  I currently take the following meds:  Protonix, Cymbalta, Provigil, Vicodin, Creon, and Excedrin PM which helps me sleep because of achiness. Without the Provigil, I cannot stay awake during the day and cannot function without it. I consume very little food, but continue to increase in size in my mid-section and my cholesterol has gone from 165 to 280 in 5 months.  My liver enzymes have been elevated for approx. the same period of time and I am now very worried about what is going on. My urine and hands have a musty odor and my potassium level is often depleted -- I urinate frequently.  I am not diabetic.

In addition, I have developed severe palmar/plantar hyperkerotosis which causes my feet to hurt, and my cervical spine has developed problems which cause severe neck pain and in my occipital nerves.  Although my internist has recommended a 3 mile a day walk or riding a bike, in hopes of lowering my cholesterol, the thought of exercising make me feel ill because my bones hurt so badly.  I have episodic falling where I fall for no reason -- my legs simply collapse under me.

Your thoughts on possible causes would be appreciated.  I have started on a combination of the 20/30 diet and Weight Watchers in an attempt to lose the weight -- but I know that I have been eating under 1200 calories a day since I became sick 4 years ago.
Please help.
10 Responses
233190 tn?1278553401
Difficult to say without examination.  

Further evaluation of the elevated liver enzymes can be done with imaging, an ultrasound or an MRCP to evaluate the biliary ducts.  I suspect that many of these tests have already been done.  If the enzymes are persistently elevated or rising, a liver biopsy can be done for a more definitive diagnosis.  

The increased urination can be due to infection and a urine sample should be done.  Metabolic diseases like diabetes (which you said has been ruled out), thyroid disorders or diabetes insipidus (not the same as diabetes mellitus) can be considered.  The latter disease can be evaluated with a water restriction test.  

As for the cholesterol, I agree with the lifestyle changes.  If this is not enough to bring the cholesterol down, medications like the various statin class of drugs can be considered.

These options can be discussed with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Avatar universal
My current weight is 156 lbs. and I am 5.5.
Avatar universal
Hi I just had to respond to  your post.  I am a 27 y/o female who also has chronic pancreatitis, and liver problems.  I am currently waiting on my surgery date of June 8th.  I am having the total pancreatectomy and islet cell transplant in Minnesota.  Have you researched this surgery? The docs have not given me much hope of improvement of pain or nausea and other problems without this surgery.  
I also have the increase in weight that is not the usual case with a chronic pancreatitis patient.  Right now I am unable to eat anything and am on TPN at home via a PICC Line in my arm.  Hopefully all of this will be a thing of the past after I recover from this surgery.  
I hope you find some relief soon!!
Avatar universal
Actually I have.  I have had 15 ERCPs in the past four and half years on my pancreas and biliary ducts.  I was told after the ERCP that I had two years ago that the next time they would have to perform the Whipple procedure.  It is my understanding that it is a very difficult procedure.  When I became critically ill with a bad attack this past November, they decided to do another ERCP.  You are young and I sure will bounce back from this surgery than I would.  The only way I will consider this surgery is if it is my only option.  Good luck to you and your upcoming procedure.
Avatar universal
There are several people I know who have had the TP/ICT surgery who are older than I and they have done excellently! In my understanding, if you were to go ahead with the Whipple and not the  TP/ICT, then if the whipple didn't help you, you wouldn't have any other options b/c you wouldn't have enough islet cells left to transplant into your liver.  (b/c with the whipple a large portion of your pancreas is removed, thus leaving you with a greatly reduced number of the islets.)
There is a GREAT website for support for people with CP or family members.  
Try that! It has helped me SOOOOO MUCH!!!
Avatar universal
Thanks for the information on the web site.  I really appreciate it.  Have a great day\1
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