If a doctor suspects pancreatitis, a simple blood test to look for high levels of lipase, an enzyme, in the blood will be performed.
During digestion, the pancreas generates lipase. This enzyme aids in the digestion of lipids in the intestines. Lipase can diffuse into the bloodstream as a result of inflammation or injury to the pancreas.
A lipase test, often called a serum lipase test, can determine whether lipase levels are high. High amounts could signal a pancreatic disease or another condition.
At the same time as the lipase test, the doctor may evaluate the levels of another enzyme called amylase. This can provide additional information that can aid in the diagnosis of a pancreas issue.
The uses, techniques, findings, and ranges of a lipase test are examined in depth in this article. Continue reading to learn how to lower lipase levels.
When do you need a lipase test?
If a person exhibits symptoms of a pancreatic problem, a doctor would usually request a lipase test.
Among the signs and symptoms are:
- fatty stools
- nausea with or without vomiting
- intense pain in the upper stomach
- a rapid pulse
- weight loss
- a lack of appetite
- back pain
In addition to the lipase test, the doctor may request an amylase test. An amylase test can reveal whether or not a person has pancreatic disease.
Following a diagnosis, the doctor can employ lipase and amylase tests to track how well the condition is responding to treatment.
A lipase test is similar to any other blood test.
First, a technician will wrap a band around the person’s arm, causing blood to pool in their vein. The technician will then choose a vein, disinfect the area, and use a small needle to draw blood.
The technician then sends the blood sample to a laboratory to be tested and examined for lipase levels.
The time it takes to get a result varies based on the facilities. Inquire with the doctor about the timeframe for receiving the findings. The doctor will meet with the patient to discuss the results.
How to Get Ready
A lipase test requires very little preparation. Follow the advice and directions of doctors and technicians as you would with any medical test.
Before the blood test, the doctor would normally ask you to fast for a certain amount of time, usually between 8 and 12 hours.
Because some substances can interfere with lipase test results, anyone taking any medications or supplements should inform their doctor ahead of time. Before the test, the doctor may advise against taking certain medications.
The following factors influence the typical ranges of results:
- health history
- method of testing
Because of the wide range of outcomes, it’s important to speak with a doctor about them. In one person, the same result may suggest a problem, whereas in another, it may not.
Lipase levels are normally reported in units per liter (U/L) of blood when the laboratory delivers the test findings.
The typical ranges differ depending on the lab. The reference lipase range for adults under the age of 60 is 10–140 U/L at various facilities. The typical range for persons over 60 is 24–151 U/L. Acute pancreatitis can be diagnosed if a person’s lipase levels are abnormally high, often 3–10 times the reference range.
According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, a pancreatic attack causes blood levels of lipase to rise within 3–6 hours. These levels could stay high for up to two weeks.
High levels of lipase can also suggest other issues, such as difficulties with the kidneys or bowel.
Lipase levels that are unusually high or low can indicate a variety of problems.
Lipase levels that are abnormally low can indicate lasting damage to the pancreatic cells that make lipase. Long-term illnesses like chronic pancreatitis or cystic fibrosis can cause this.
Lipase levels that are too high can signal a variety of problems, including:
- acute pancreatitis
- gastroenteritis, which occurs when a virus causes inflammation of the stomach
- a problem with the bowel, such as a blockage
- an ulcer
- cholecystitis, or sudden inflammation of the gallbladder
- celiac disease
- pancreatic cancer
- kidney failure
High lipase causes
High lipase levels can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- pancreatitis, or swelling of the pancreas, which may be chronic or acute
- pancreatic duct obstruction
- bowel obstruction
- peptic ulcer disease
- gallbladder inflammation
- kidney disease
- celiac disease
- salivary gland inflammation
- pancreatic cancer
Increased lipase levels can also be a side effect of several drugs. This includes the following:
- some birth control pills
- thiazide diuretics
- cholinergic drugs
How to lower lipase levels
The levels of lipase will decrease once a doctor has diagnosed and treated the reason of the elevated levels.
One of the most prevalent side effects of high blood lipase levels is acute pancreatitis. When a clinician finds the condition early on, therapy options include:
- intravenous fluids
- medications to control the pain
- not eating for a recommended period, then starting a bland diet
Any underlying causes of pancreatitis, such as gallstones or high calcium levels, will be treated by a doctor. Acute pancreatitis can be caused by certain drugs. The doctor will adjust the type or dosage in this scenario.
A person’s chance of developing acute pancreatitis can be reduced by consuming a healthy diet and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.
Whether the high levels of lipase in the blood are due to acute pancreatitis or another underlying condition, therapy should bring them back into normal range.
The lipase test is a noninvasive procedure that is unlikely to result in any problems.
A doctor can use test results to detect acute pancreatitis and other pancreas-related illnesses.
Acute pancreatitis can be prevented from developing severe if it is detected and treated early.