A history of excessive alcohol consumption is found in the majority of patients with chronic pancreatitis, and numerous research efforts revealed insights into the pathogenesis of alcohol-induced pancreatic damage. However, the exact mechanisms underlying the disease are not yet clarified, and the origin of alcoholic chronic pancreatitis continues to be the topic of speculation and investigation. This article provides an overview about the epidemiology of alcoholic chronic pancreatitis, the epidemiologic association of alcohol intake and pancreatitis and the clinical course of the disease. Finally, this article summarizes several hypothetical concepts that try to explain the early and late pathophysiological mechanisms of acute and chronic pancreatitis.
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