Diseases of pancreatic islets are associated with the accumulation of cells that influence the production and release of hormones such as insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These cells usually form nodules – with benign lesions or malignant.
Depending on the type, these cells may cause endocrine disruption in different ways. These problems are rare, and the symptoms depend on the hormone to which they affect. In the case of malignant tumors, they may spread to other parts of the body.
Pancreatic islets tumors can be divided into functional and non-functional.
Non-functional pancreatic islet tumors produce substances which do not cause symptoms. Most often they lead to the growth and spread of the problem. The nodules are typically malignant.
Functional tumors of pancreatic islets cell, causing symptoms and are divided into three main types:
- gastrinomas – nodules of growing pancreatic islet cells that produce gastrin responsible for the release of digestive acid in the stomach.
- insulinoma – tumor cells which produce insulin responsible for controlling the blood sugar
- glucagonoma – nodules associated with the release of glucose or sugar in the blood from the liver.
Diseases of pancreatic islets functional type are extremely rare.
There are also somatostatinoma, different types of cells which produce the hormone somatostatin, which is responsible for the regulation of sugar, water, and salt in the body, but this is a very rare type of disease pancreatic islets.
The symptoms of diseases of pancreatic islets
In the case of non-functional nodules, the symptoms are related to the growth and spread of tumors. Belong to them:
- increasing neoplastic lesions,
- abdominal or back pain,
- an increase in weight of the stomach,
- yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes – jaundice.
In the case of gastrinomas nodules symptoms include:
- recurring gastric ulcer,
- abdominal pain that respond to antacids,
Insulinoma is characterized by:
- increased heart rate,
- low blood sugar – may appear then, headache, dizziness, blurred image, weakness, tremors, irritability, hunger.
On the other hand, in the case of glucagonoma, symptoms include:
- rash on the abdomen, legs, face,
- unexplained weight loss,
- ulceration of the mouth and tongue,
- may appear blood clots, and with them, shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, headache and swelling of the limbs, feeling of warmth in the arms and legs,
- may appear high blood sugar levels, and also headaches, dry skin, frequent urination, hunger, thirst.
The causes of diseases of pancreatic islets
Cell tumor nodules pancreatic islets are an extremely rare condition. Its cause is believed to be a disease called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, or occurrences it, with immediate family members. The disease manifests itself when to produce one or more of the endocrine glands, hyperfunction or growing tumor. This disease also affects the pancreas, parathyroid, and pituitary gland.
A general medical examination and review of medical history and family are the bases of diagnosis. As another are performed a blood test for increased levels of hormones such as insulin, glucagon, and gastrin, as well as blood glucose level. Finally, is carried out an ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography or the endoscopy, to assess changes in the pancreatic islets.
Treatment comprised of surgery, during which the nodules are removed. It is often necessary to remove them from other organs such as the liver.
If we deal with a malignant form of cancer, chemotherapy is advisable, that allows you to reduce the size of nodules. Also, pharmacological treatment is used, which supports the alleviation of the symptoms caused by hormone overproduction.
Typically, surgery to remove lumps cures the disease of pancreatic islets, but while cancer cells spread throughout the body, the success of the treatment is reduced.