The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

October 25, 2013

Patient's pancreatitis requires abstinence

DEAR DR. ROACH: I went to the emergency ward this weekend with severe chest pains and bloating. I was sure I was having a heart attack. After tests, a CT scan revealed I had pancreatitis (they mentioned a number 222 for some enzyme or something); also, my potassium was low and sodium was critically low, at 113. I am 62, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weigh 210; I have Type 2 diabetes with an A1C of 6.7 and high blood pressure. I was discharged after four days with no restrictions other than to eat light and refrain from alcohol 100 percent for the rest of my life to avoid another occurrence. I had never heard of pancreatitis, and it was devastating news to me. I make wine, and have for years. I do not drink anything except wine, and the thought of never being able to drink again is very disturbing. Is there a possibility that I may be able to drink wine again in the future? The doctor’s assessment seemed pretty harsh to me. — J.C.

ANSWER: Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that makes digestive enzymes and insulin. Acute pancreatitis can be very severe, even life-threatening on occasion. There are many causes, but the most common in North America are gallstones and alcohol. The diagnosis is made from the history and physical exam, and an elevated pancreas enzyme level, usually amylase or lipase.

Before concluding that alcohol is the cause of the pancreatitis, it’s important to make sure there is nothing blocking the pancreatic and common bile duct, such as a stone or tumor. The CT scan is good, but if there is doubt, an endoscopy may need to be performed.

If your doctor determined that the cause is alcohol, then I’m afraid I have to agree that no amount of alcohol is safe. Drinking even modest amounts of wine, even months or years later, could bring about pancreatitis again.

Text Only
Food & Health
  • Center warns people of fertilizer dangers IOWA CITY (AP) -- Doctors at the University of Iowa Burn Treatment Center are worried by a spike in injuries from anhydrous ammonia, a chemical used to fertilize corn crops. The center usually sees one or two cases of burns in a year, but this spring

    April 23, 2014

  • New Americans turn to goats to address food demand COLCHESTER, Vt. -- A bunch of kids in a minivan are solving twin challenges in northern Vermont: refugees struggling to find the food of their homelands and farmers looking to offload unwanted livestock. The half dozen kids -- that is, baby goats --

    April 22, 2014

  • FDA Electronic Cigarettes-3 [Duplicate] Industry awaits federal regulation RICHMOND, Va. -- Smokers are increasingly turning to battery-powered electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix. They're about to find out what federal regulators have to say about the popular devices. The Food and Drug Administration will propo

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Kids get codeine in ER despite risks, guidelines

    Despite recommended limits on codeine use in children, the potent painkiller is prescribed for children in at least half a million emergency room visits each year, a study suggests.

    Use of the drug in that setting is hardly rampant — just 3 percent of kids' ER visits resulted in a codeine prescription in 2010, the 10-year study found. But with more than 25 million ER visits by children each year, the authors say far too many kids are getting the drug when better options are available.

    April 21, 2014

  • USDA orders farms to report pig virus infections MILWAUKEE -- Farms stricken with a deadly pig virus must report outbreaks as part of a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of the disease, the federal government announced Friday. Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed millions

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

    In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting.

    Over the last two decades, the rates of heart attacks and strokes among diabetics fell by more than 60 percent, a new federal study shows. The research also confirms earlier reports of drastic declines in diabetes-related kidney failure and amputations.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.