Autoimmune pancreatitis or AIP is a chronic disease also a a form of hyper-IgG4 disease which is of two types, type 1 and 2. The type 1 exists in adults of 50 to 60 years of age and type 2 exists in children under 12 years of age. Type 1 disease has a high relapse rate as well. The disease affects the pancreas, kidneys, lymph nodes, salivary glands, liver and the bile ducts. This is a rare disease and sometimes mistaken as a pancreatic cancer as well. The reason being, conditions and symptoms are same in both the cases, however each disease has a different treatment. Thus, taking treatment from a recognized clinic is a must which can diagnose and treat the Autoimmune pancreatitis disease efficiently.
Signs and Symptoms
A few signs and symptoms of Autoimmune pancreatitis or AIP is understood by the following features:
Scleral Icterus in which eyes and skin become yellow in colour also known as Jaundice
Mild symptoms of weight loss or nausea are observed in this condition
The serum levels of gamma globulins, IgG or IgG4 are found to increase
The serum autoantibodies like anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-carbonic anhydrase II antibody, and anti-lactoferrin antibody are also observed
The CT demonstrates pancreas that is large in size and in the shape of a sausage-shaped
There is even irregular narrowing of the main pancreatic duct
There is stenosis of the intrapancreatic bile duct on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
Sometimes cyst formation is also there
Autoimmune pancreatitis is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms closely resemble the pancreatic cancer and therefore, it is challenging for the doctors to discover this disease. Thus, to avoid this, the radiologists need to know the pancreatic as well as extrapancreatic imaging findings to make an accurate decision. The most common sign is jaundice caused by bile ducts are noticed in maximum number of cases. The dual-phase helical CT scans and MR are taken to find the superior images of liver, bile ducts and the pancreas.
IgG4 is produced by the immune system and one blood tests are performed to find this bt this alone doesn’t confirm the disease. A sample of pancreatic tissue has to be analyzed in the laboratory which appears distinctively and it helps to confirm the disease. If diagnosed correctly, managing the treatment is easier.
Once the symptoms or signs of AIP are noticed, corticosteroids are given to the patients and in most of the cases, the symptoms go away with this. About 40 percent of people get treated on their own. They do not need to take any drug or medication for the treatment. In certain cases, the disease does get treated on its own but 30 percent of the time, it returns back and additional treatment is required. It can be resolved with the steroid treatment. The inflammation of kidneys, liver and bile ducts etc. gets healed with the steroid treatment completely.
There are many types of medicines that may be used in specific types of autoimmune diseases. While some treatments aim at relieving symptoms like pain and inflammation, others target the disease process. Unfortunately, adding to extreme hazards and medical anxiety, some autoimmune diseases like thyroiditis and diabetes make the manufacture of vital components in the form of hormones conducive to the human body difficult. Relaxingly enough, some agents introduced by the developed medical ventures, like, anti-TNF medications are used in autoimmune arthritis and psoriasis. Apart from medications, there are several lifestyle changes that may be adopted along with the treatment of autoimmune diseases. These include eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight, getting adequate rest, reducing stress, etc.