Amylase

Description

Any kind of disorder related to pancreas can be detected by amylase test. This test monitors the level of amylase enzyme in the blood. Common symptoms associated with pancreatic problems are nausea, fever, loss of appetite and back pain. This test is also recommended in the screening procedures used for the presence of gallstones or pancreatic cancer. Urine amylase test is also prescribed along this test in order to get complete idea of the functioning of pancreas.

Amylase test is not only used for screening, but for monitoring as well since it can track the progress of a chronic pancreatic disease . By monitoring the amylase level, adjustments can be made on the treatment regimen.

How to Prepare for an Amylase Test?

Before you take the amylase test, know that the medications you’re taking may influence the results of the amylase serum test. Medications like diuretics, corticosteroids, oral birth control pills, and codeine as well as morphine can increase the amylase level.

It is also important that you avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to having the test since this could also affect the results.

Finally, no food intake for at least a couple of hours prior to your amylase serum test. Water is okay; but no coffee, tea, soda, or other types of drinks.

There are two ways to perform an amylase test: through a blood test or a urine test.

  • For blood test, a small amount of blood will be taken and sent for analysis.

  • For urine test, it can be done within a two-hour period or a 24-hour period. Mark the time of your first urine at the start of the two-hour period, but do not collect the first urine though. Instead, collect the succeeding urines within the two-hour timeframe in one container. Finally, collect the last urine within that timeframe and mark the time once more, signaling the end of the urine test. The same steps are done for the 24-hour period, but instead of just two hours, you have 24 hours. Of note, you can keep the urine sample container inside your refrigerator to preserve it and send it to the lab within an hour once you’re done collecting.

What do the Results Mean?

For blood test, normal amylase test for individuals below the age of 60 is between 0.4 and 2.1 mckat/L, and 0.4 and 2.5 mckat/L for individuals above the age of 60.

Normal amylase level is 16 to 283 nanokats per hour in two-hour urine sample, and 400 to 6,000 nanokats per day in 24-hour urine sample.

Higher than normal amylase level could mean pancreatic disorders and problems, intestinal blockage, salivary gland inflammation, kidney damage and failure, gallstones,appendicitis,pancreatitis, peritonitis, stomach ulcer, diabetic ketoacidosis , among others.

Of note, amylase lipase test may be done together to check the pancreas’ health and status, and if the test showed a lipase level of more than 400 U/L, it could mean that the pancreas is damaged.

Common Amylase Test Questions

  • My amylase level is high; does that mean that my pancreas is damaged or diseased?

    Not necessarily. There are conditions that can increase the amylase level like other preexisting medical conditions, alcohol consumption, and even the medications that you are taking.

  • What is the difference between P-amylase and S-amylase?

    P-amylase is produced by the pancreas, while S-amylase is produced by the salivary glands. When there is a pancreatic inflammation or infection, it is the P-amylase that is increased, and S-amylase is the enzyme that is increased when there is a salivary gland problem or disease.


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