The team of researchers at Mayo Clinic in Arizona has recently conducted a study and found that obesity is not only involved in chronic diseases like diabetes but it is also implicated in sudden onset diseases like pancreatitis.
The findings of this study are published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
A gastroenterologist, Vijay Singh said that in this study they demonstrated that fat accumulated in the belly is rapidly degraded during pancreatitis but not during diverticulitis despite inflammation. He said that both diseases come with sudden abdominal pain and account for almost 300,000 cases each year in the United States.
Acute pancreatitis is a slow and sudden inflammation of the pancreas. It is an inflammatory condition of the pancreas which may be painful. Causes include a gallstone that is impacted in the common bile duct beyond the point where pancreatic duct joins it, systemic diseases, trauma, alcohol abuse, and mumps. It may be mild or life-threatening.
National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have shared the symptoms and causes of pancreatitis which include fever, fast heartbeat, nausea, and swollen abdomen. It begins suddenly and slowly in the upper abdomen and sometimes spreads to the back. It may last for several days.
The rapid degradation of fat which occurs in pancreatitis is triggered by an enzyme known as PNLIP (human pancreatic lipase). This pancreatic enzyme can produce fatty acids that cause basic body systems such as circulation, lung and kidney function to fail. This multisystem failure is more common in acute pancreatitis as compared to diverticulitis.
Diverticulitis is a disease that affects the digestive tract. It is one of the serious medical conditions which causes the development of inflamed pouches in the inner lining of the intestine. These inflamed pouches are called diverticula which develop when weak points or areas in the intestinal wall give way under pressure which causes sections to bulge out.
PNLIP is the primary lipase enzyme that hydrolyzes the dietary fat molecules present in the digestive system. It is also known as steapsin or pancreatic triglycerol lipase. It is one of the important digestive enzymes which convert triglycerides substrates to monoglycerides 3 and fatty acids 2a and 2b.
Dr Singh said that obesity also can worsen pancreatitis. This highlights that obesity not only just involved in the development of chronic diseases like diabetes but it is also involved in the development of sudden-onset diseases like pancreatitis.
Dr. Singh said that outcomes also revealed that unsaturated fats like oleic acid present in olive oil, which is recommended safe by the Food and Drug Association, actually increase the risks of organ failure. At the same time, pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that is present in the pancreas breaks down the stored fats in fat cells was not abundant in the cells which are specialized for fat storage.
Dr. Singh said that these findings open the door to new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pancreatitis and to prevent organ failure. Inhibition of PNLIP can prevent acute pancreatitis, avoid hospitalizations and save precious lives.