What is Amylase?
An amylase blood test measures the level of amylase, a digestive enzyme, in blood. This test may be prescribed if you experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, jaundice, vomiting, and discomfort in and around the abdomen.
An abnormal amount of amylase in your body may be a sign of a pancreatic disorder. The Amylase test is a crucial marker for detecting ectopic pregnancy, inflammation of the pancreas, and acute pancreatitis in pregnant women. The normal range of amylase in the blood is 30 U/L to 110 U/L. The cause of high amylase levels in the blood can be indicative of chronic pancreatitis and ectopic pregnancy. The levels lower than normal are due to liver disorders and cystic fibrosis.
Why is Amylase done?
- To help in the diagnosis of acute and chronic pancreatitis
- To help diagnose pancreatic cysts, pancreatic pseudocyst, and pancreatic abscesses
- To determine the blockage of pancreatic ducts
- To diagnose certain conditions affecting the digestive system like peptic ulcers, infections, appendicitis, etc.
- To diagnose some types of tumors like pancreatic cancer
- To monitor treatment of pancreatic diseases
What does Amylase Measure?
Amylase is an enzyme that helps in the breakdown of complex dietary carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates for absorption. Digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth since amylase is secreted by the salivary glands. However, most of the amylase is produced by the pancreas and secreted into the duodenum of the small intestine. Amylase is also found in small quantities in blood, urine and peritoneal fluid.
The levels of amylase in blood rise either due to its increased secretion into the blood or decreased clearance by the kidneys or due to both these reasons. High levels are commonly seen in acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) where the amylase levels rise rapidly (in 6 to 48 hours). In mild cases of pancreatitis, amylase levels slowly return to normal within a few days. Higher levels for longer periods indicate other complications.
Interpreting Amylase results
- Adults up to age 60 yrs: 25-125 units per litre (U/L)
- Adults older than age 60 yrs: 24-151 U/L
Healths First, Lal Pathlab, Medcis Pathlab
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