Complications of pancreatitis
Sometimes, untreated pancreatitis causes severe and life-threatening complications. Each one of them has its own set of signs and symptoms. For example, we described previously how acute necrotizing pancreatitis causes fever as an additional symptom, and it is a lethal complication. We also described how chronic pancreatitis usually ends up in diabetes as a complication, with all of its additional symptoms.
Another complication of pancreatitis is metabolic bone disease, which is caused by impaired absorption of vitamin D, especially in heavy drinkers and cigarette smoking. However, the most striking complication is pancreatic cancer, which is commonly reported in untreated chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatic cancer usually causes similar symptoms to pancreatitis, but these patients do have a significant loss of appetite and weight loss along with jaundice (yellowish coloration of skin and eyes) and ascites (free liquid in the abdominal cavity).
There are many other complications of pancreatitis, such as splenic vein thrombosis, pancreatic pseudocysts with massive fluid collections, and duodenal obstructions. Each of them has their own signs and symptoms, and most of them are severe problems requiring urgent medical attention. Thus, it is essential to ask your doctor about your symptoms if you have any doubt.