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Pancreatitis - onset of scleroderma

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I wanted to share more of my story.  I recently joined the forum and asked about removing telangiectasia from my face.  So in 2005  I was brought down by a serious case of pancreatitis.  32 days in the hospital.  Crazy long. 


Anyway, about 75% of my pancreas is not functional.  I became a type 1 diabetic and insulin dependent.  I was not diagnosed with anything and the doctors did not know why I got the pancreatitis.  At the time I was 30 years old and drinking some alcohol but not enough to get pancreatitis from but doctors suspected maybe alcohol.  I then just to be cautious did not drink at all for 6 years.  During this period I also developed Raynaud's with some digital ulcers on and off.  and I have vitiligo  (white blotches) on legs and couple on chest and back.  And I also have noticeable telangiectasia on my face. 


As you now can tell I had enough symptoms to be diagnosed.  I haven't had any more issues with my pancreas other than it not producing insulin. I have started drinking again, just socially.  But do think about sometimes if the alcohol could bring a bout of pancreatitis back?  I know this disease is so unpredictable and anything can happen but I don't want it to run my life so I am going to do my best with it and do want I want to do -with some caution.  Anybody out there had pancreatitis with scleroderma?


Thanks for listening,


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Hi Jeremy,


I've included a link to our medical page on Pancreatitis, Autoimmune (AIP), which I hope you'll find helpful and informative.


Thankfully, I've never suffered with pancreatitis; however, my father did for the last twenty five years of his life, although it was not scleroderma related. When he developed it, his consultant told him never to have another drink and although he wasn't a particularly heavy drinker, he did like a whiskey of an evening. However, to his credit, having been told not to drink, from then on not another drop ever passed his lips, for the rest of his life. (Getting him to give up smoking was another thing though; he never really managed it successfully!) He lived to be 83, so having pancreatitis didn't exactly shorten his lifespan! :wink: 


Kind regards,

Jo Frowde

ISN Board Member

ISN Secretary of the Board

ISN Assistant Webmaster

SD World Webmaster

ISN Sclero Forums Manager

ISN News Manager

ISN Hotline Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Jeremy,


Welcome to Sclero Forums. I'm sorry you have scleroderma, and pancreatitis.


Pleae keep in mind that I'm not a doctor, and I have no medical training at all. How I'd look at this is, that you are doubly susceptible to alcohol triggering another round of pancreatitis, because then you'd have two triggers at once, both scleroderma and alcohol, and together, your risk for recurrence might be through the roof.


Alcohol can also be hard on the liver and kidneys, which are also at risk with scleroderma -- in two ways, actually. One is that scleroderma may affect them, and another is that the various medications you need to take now -- or later -- may also stress the liver and kidneys. 


If despite the risks, if you still choose to drink, you may want to consider moderate consumption of red wine, which may help to reduce attacks of Raynaud's, according to some studies. But alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can all trigger or worsen Raynaud's, so consider what your own reaction is. With digital ulcers, you run the risk of amputation, and that could take all the fun out of a social drink or two.


With the increased risk to your pancreas, liver and kidneys, you may want to discuss the whole matter with your scleroderma expert.  It's not giving up or giving in or succumbing to the illness to try to make the wisest decisions to live longer or healthier. Sure, a drink or two may be enjoyable, but organ failure could possibly take some of the fun and length out of life, too.


Do take a moment to ask yourself if you might be trying to "use" alcohol in any way, such as for a painkiller, a sleep aid, or to try to avoid issues, such as declining health. It's easy for all of us to misuse alcohol as a crutch.


I've found that reliable sober drivers are always in demand socially, so bypassing alcohol seldom puts a real dent in our fun.



Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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When I was in my 20's, the age when we all love to socialise, I would drink, not much but socially.    Then quite quickly I realised that it was aggravating my migraines so cut out wine altogether.   Then I found spirits would make me really sick so for a long time I abstained.


Later on my blood tests started indicating liver dysfunction.   In fact the hospital doctors labelled it a 'deranged liver'.   A few years later when I had emergency abdominal surgery it was found that I had Cirrhosis.   All this developed while I was avoiding wine altogether and 10 years after my last gin and tonic. 


It seems to me that my body was telling me all along that it was not going to tolerate alcohol in any form and the sooner I realised that the better.


What I have been diagnosed with as far as my liver is concerned is Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, an AI disorder that is frequently found in cohoots with Scleroderma.   Fortunately for me my consumption of alcohol was actually quite minor in those years that I imbibed so my Cirrhosis is under control and hasn't given me any of the usual problems so far.


I cringe whenever I read of people continuing to drink alcohol when problems have arisen.   There is more to live for than that and in fact if one is shy about admitting being an abstainer, then don't admit it, drink something innocuous when in company and nobody will know the difference.


Best wishes to your Pancreas :hug-bear: :hug-bear: may it feel better for ever more.


Judy Trewartha

(Retired) ISN Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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