A major as well as critical function of the pancreas is to keep on supplying the intestines with the enzymes required to break down food into energy. And when the pancreas is unable to perform this vital activity due to one reason or the other, the situation is described as pancreatic insufficiency.
Basically, it occurs when there is an inability on the part of the exocrine pancreas to produce and transport the required amount of enzymes to the intestines where they are broken down thereby allowing for absorption within the system as energy.
This inability on the part of the exocrine pancreas takes place whenever there is a progressive pancreatic damage that in turn may have happened because of recurrent acute pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis.
Pancreatic insufficiency is so widespread in its reach that even children are not spared its often serious consequences. Though in children, pancreatic insufficiency is found to exist in a different way.
In children, pancreatic insufficiency is generally associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) or Swachmann-Diamond Syndrome (SDS).
Pancreatic research has revealed that all the children below the age of five have had some level of pancreatic insufficiency right from their infancy itself. Pancreatic insufficiency is associated with the Type 1 or the auto immune diabetes.
Though a little rare occurrence, there are instances where pancreatic insufficiency has been linked to pancreatic cancer as well. This revelation in itself tells us clearly the level of seriousness with which pancreatic insufficiency needs to be treated with.
Come to think of it, SDS is found to be the most commonly prevalent instance of pancreatic insufficiency after the cystic fibrosis.
Pancreatic insufficiency though presents itself with sufficient symptoms. This comes in the form of malnutrition, malabsorption, vitamin deficiencies and weight loss. In the case of children, the last mentioned symptom manifests itself in the child’s inability to gain weight. And is also accompanied by what is known in medical terminology as steatorrehea (loose, fatty and foul smelling stools).
In the case of adults, diabetes is a more often than not an accompanying irritant.
The test for the presence of fecal fat is the most basic of tests to identify the presence of pancreatic insufficiency.
Stool trypsin tests are carried out to find out whether sufficient enzymes are finding their way into the intestines or not.

Author's Bio: 

Jocelyn Red is an expert author and writing about the health, Pancreatic insufficiency, journals for student. She is currently writing about the acute pancreatitis, Clinical Pancreatic Research.