Public Release: 8-Nov-2016
Blood fats equal risk of pancreatitis
University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
New research from the University of Copenhagen shows that mild to moderate levels of blood fats equals an increased risk developing acute pancreatitis. It is far more serious than we previously believed it to be, according to the professor behind the study.
Pancreatitis is very painful and it may lead to fatalities. Until now, medical science has connected the risk of developing this illness to gallstone, a high intake of alcohol and very high concentrations of blood fats. However, new research reveals that even mildly increased levels of blood fats is a risk factor. The latest study has involved more than 115,000 participants from Denmark, and the results have just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.
"We were surprised by the results, which show that even a mild to moderate rise in blood fats increases the risk of developing acute pancreatitis. In fact, it turns out that the risk of developing pancreatitis is far greater than the risk of developing say, cardiovascular diseases," says medical student Simon Bo Pedersen from the University of Copenhagen and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.
Far more serious than it was previously believed to be
Normal levels of blood fats would typically be 0-2 mmol per litre, while 2-10 is classified as a mild to moderate increase. If blood fat levels rise above 10 mmol per litre, it is considered a very high increase and previously, this was considered the risk factor to look for in relation to pancreatitis. However, this latest study shows that even a 2 mmol per litre increase significantly increases the risk of pancreas inflammation, and the risk is nine times higher with blood fat levels at 5-10 mmol per litre.
"It's far more serious than we previously believed it to be. Risk factors should therefore include a mild to moderate increase in blood fats, i.e. if a patient suddenly suffers e.g. severe stomach pains, which is a symptom related to acute pancreatitis, we should measure the patient's blood fats," says Professor Børge Nordestgaard from the University of Copenhagen and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.