Amylase and Lipase blood tests are meant to detect pancreatitis in your body. Pancreatitis is a condition in which a morbid inflammation occurs on the pancreas, the organ located in the upper left region of your abdomen. Through this article, you will come to know about the amylase and lipase tests, the symptoms of pancreatitis, the risks involved in pancreatitis, and so on.
What is Chronic Pancreatitis?
The pancreas is one of the most vital organs meant for metabolism. Our pancreas does the important function of converting the food we consume into fuel for the functioning of our body cells. The pancreas acts both as an exocrine and an endocrine organ. The exocrine function of the pancreas is to aid the process of digestion. Meanwhile, the endocrine function of the pancreas is to regulate the blood sugar level.
Chronic pancreatitis is a long-term pathologic inflammation of the pancreas, leading to the rupture of the structure and functions of the organ. There are three proven stages of pancreatitis. They are stages A, B, and C.
If left untreated, pancreatitis brings you life-threatening conditions, causing multiple organ failures. Pancreatitis occurs in the human abdomen due to various reasons. Usually, it occurs when there is an imbalance in the enzymes secreted by the pancreas. (Amylase and Lipase) The most common cause of chronic/acute pancreatitis is consuming way too much alcohol.
Other causes include stones in the gallbladder, injuries in the abdomen, cystic fibrosis, abdominal infections, and metabolic disorders. Below given are a few of the symptoms associated with chronic/acute pancreatitis.
Symptoms associated with Pancreatitis
- Acute abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Increased heartbeat
- Vomiting and nausea
- Swollen abdomen
- Loss of appetite due to elevation in the levels of Amylase and Lipase
Risks involved in Chronic Pancreatitis
Usually, if the acute pancreatitis is mild in condition, it goes away on its own. However, in most cases, acute pancreatitis, if left untreated, can cause fatal conditions. Chronic Pancreatitis is most commonly diagnosed among elderly people.
However, it can occur among people of any age. Chronic pancreatitis can go adverse and cause negative effects on the basic structure and functions of the pancreas. It then leads to multiple organ failures.
Remember that it takes only 3 to 10 days for this disease to completely rupture your internal organs. So, it is always advisable to seek medical help as soon as you notice the above mentioned in your abdominal region. You are not supposed to consume alcoholic beverages for at least six o months after tour recovery.
Amylase and Lipase Tests
As mentioned earlier, Amylase and Lipase tests are performed to diagnose the presence of pancreatitis. Imbalance in any of these enzymes is responsible for the cause of inflammation in the pancreas. Firstly, it is good to know about the enzymes Amylase and Lipase, before getting to know about the tests.
What is Amylase?
Amylase is a catalytic enzyme whose main function is to aid the process of hydrolyzing the starch into sugar. Amylase is mainly secreted by the pancreatic and salivary glands. It is also present in the stomach.
The stomach produces its own amylase known as gastric amylase which eases up the process of digestion. Amylase is also present in natural plant based foods like bananas, bacteria, molds, etc.
The normal level of amylase is 23 to 85 U/L (Units per Litre). It should exceed 200 U/L. if so, then pancreatitis is highly suspected.
What is Lipase?
Lipase is a digestive enzyme that helps in the breakdown of fat molecules in the food you are eating, easing up the process of absorption by the intestines. Lipase is secreted in the regions of the mouth, stomach, and pancreas. Lipase is also produced by bacterias like Pseudomonas, Burkholderia, Bacillus, and so on.
The normal level of lipase is 0 to 60 U/L (Units per Litre). If it exceeds 200 U/L, then pancreatitis is highly suspected.
How are Amylase and Lipase tests done?
If any of these two enzymes are higher in level than the normal level, then you are most probably affected by pancreatitis. How do you know whether you have a high level of amylase and lipase secreted in you? It’s Simple. A basic blood test is performed in your body.
- Firstly, your elbow region or the back of your hands are cleaned by wiping with a cotton dipped in antiseptic.
- An elastic band is tied around your elbow region to improve the pressure and to make your vein fill with blood.
- Thirdly, a needle is inserted into your vein to collect blood.
- After the blood test, a simple urine test and stool test are also performed for further confirmation.
- Make sure you are sober before the amylase and lipase test. Also, make sure to inform your health professional if you are under any other medications.
- Do you know? Other diagnoses like CT scan, abdominal ultrasound, MRI scan, etc are also performed for further confirmation of pancreatitis and also to find the risks involved.
Treatment for Pancreatitis
The first thing they do in the hospitals to treat pancreatitis is admitting you there under utmost supervision, to give your pancreas the time and essential care for recovery. Throughout the hospital stay, IV fluids (Intravenous fluids) are recommended, as in most cases dehydration occurs along with pancreatitis.
Since acute pancreatitis causes severe pain in your abdomen and back, medications are provided to get relief from it. Pancreatitis causes pain alongside food intake. So, bland foods and a liquid diet are given at first, if you still experience pain while eating, then feeding tubes are used.
How to prevent Pancreatitis?
There are various methods by which you can prevent yourself from pancreatitis. Some of the preventive measures are listed below:
- Excessive alcohol consumption is the greatest enemy of the pancreas, as it alters the composition of bile juices and bile salts. It is okay to consume alcoholic beverages once in a while, that too in correct proportions. When it comes to alcohol, make sure you don’t go overboard.
- Quit smoking. You may think that smoking only affects the respiratory system. No, smoking causes negative effects to almost each and every system of your body, which includes your pancreas as well.
- Always follow a fiber-rich and low-fat diet regime and exercise daily. High fat diet can greatly alter the amylase and lipase content in your body, which leads to pancreatitis.
- Stay hydrated always. Do not forget to intake your fluids at any cost.
- Always track down the symptoms and discomforts happening in your body. It is very important for diagnosis.
Closure | Amylase And Lipase
It is true that you can live without a pancreas. However, no book says that you can live peacefully without a pancreas. You will have to make long term adjustments for it, which is practically not feasible.
So, it is our responsibility to take certain actions to maintain our health. Hope you got to know about the facts regarding acute pancreatitis, amylase and lipase levels, preventive measures, and so on. Feel free to clarify your queries in the comment section below.