The pancreas creates both endocrine and exocrine, which both play a role in the body’s digestive system. Exocrine Pancreatic Deficiency (EPI) is a condition characterized by the absence of the exocrine enzyme that is required for the body to be able to digest food. EPI causes gastrointestinal upset and can prevent the body from absorbing nutrients from food. The underlying enzyme deficiency that produces EPI is caused by other conditions, such as Chronic Pancreatitis, Cystic Fibrosis, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, and diabetes. EPI is commonly treated using pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) and vitamin supplements. PERT works by replacing the digestive enzymes that the pancreas would ordinarily produce. When taken with food, these medications assist the body in breaking down and digesting food. People living with EPI need to maintain continuous access to these medications to sustain their health.
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