The pancreas is a 3 to 4 inch organ located in the left side of the abdomen just behind the stomach. It performs two functions that are essential to your health.
It secretes enzymes that are necessary for the digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates so they can be assimilated. The pancreas also creates insulin that transports glucose into your cells and then stores them as extra fuel for future energy needs.
You could live without your pancreas, but you would be sentenced to taking insulin and pancreatic enzymes for the rest of your life.
For most people the pancreas is synonymous with diabetes. Pancreas problems and particularly diabetes are not to be ignored.
Warning signs are increased thirst and appetite with unexplained weight loss; frequent urination, sudden vision changes, lethargy, drowsiness, labored breathing, a fruity odor on the breath, and, in more severe cases, stupor and even unconsciousness.
It’s easy to understand the tongue-in-cheek t-shirt messages that say, “I Want Your Pancreas,” and, “If Your Pancreas Works – Quit Whining.”