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The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is many years of heavy alcohol use. The chronic form of pancreatitis can be triggered by one acute attack that damages the pancreatic duct. The damaged duct causes the pancreas to become inflamed. Scar tissue develops and the pancreas is slowly destroyed.
Less common causes of chronic pancreatitis include:
Hereditary disorders of the pancreas
Cystic fibrosis (most common inherited disorder leading to chronic pancreatitis)
Hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood)
Hyperlipidemia or hypertriglyceridemia (high levels of blood fats)
Certain autoimmune conditions
At Stanford's Benign Pancreas Program, we're committed to treating all patients who suffer from chronic pancreatitis. Our pancreatic specialists will determine the correct diagnosis, and then, in close collaboration with other specialists, treat the consequent abdominal pain, diarrhea, diabetes, and malnutrition that are often associated with chronic pancreatitis.