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Autoimmune Pancreatitis Subtypes

By Elaine Moore on 6/18/2018

When I first wrote about autoimmune pancreatitis in 2007, it was considered a fairly unknown disorder. See

In fact, several patients with typical symptoms were diagnosed after first sharing this information with their practitioners. Today, little more is known about autoimmune pancreatitis except that there are two subtypes of this disorder. Type I, which is also called IgG4-related pancreatitis is one of several disorders that often affect multiple organs, including the pancreas, bile ducts, salivary glands, kidneys and lymph nodes. Type 2 autoimmune pancreatitis, also called idiopathic ductcentric pancreatitis only affects the pancreas. About one-third of people with this condition have associated conditions of inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

Type 1 autoimmune pancreatitis typically occurs in elderly males whereas type 2 typically affects patients over the age of 40 with males and females equally affected.  Type 1 disorders respond well to steroids and relapse if treatment is stopped.

Autoimmune pancreatitis is still difficult to diagnose because it often doesn't cause symptoms. Painless jaundice caused by blocked bile ducts is the most common symptom, appearing in about 80 percent of patients. Other symptoms that may occur include unexplained weight loss and abdominal pain. Pancreatic insufficiency may also occur, which may cause diarrhea, weight loss, metabolic bone disease and nutrient deficiencies. Diabetes and pancreatic calcifications and stones may also occur. Even with these complications, people who receive treatment for autoimmune pancreatitis are reported to have a normal life expectancy.

 Source: Autoimmune pancreatitis, symptoms and causes, Mayo Clinic Foundation for Medical Education and Research 1998-2018.


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