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Amylase is an enzyme, or special protein, produced by your pancreas and salivary glands. The pancreas is an organ located behind your stomach. It creates various enzymes that help break down food in your intestines.
The pancreas can sometimes become damaged or inflamed, which causes it to produce too much or too little amylase. An abnormal amount of amylase in your body may be a sign of a pancreatic disorder.
An amylase blood test can determine whether you have a disease of the pancreas by measuring the amount of amylase in your body. You may have a disorder affecting the pancreas if the levels of amylase are too low or too high.
Amylase is typically measured by testing a sample of your blood. In some cases, a urine sample may also be used to determine the amount of amylase in your body.
An amylase blood test is usually done if your doctor suspects a pancreatic disorder, such as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, or gallstones. Symptoms vary for the different diseases, but they may include:
You should avoid drinking alcohol before the test. You should also tell your doctor about any medications you may be taking. Certain drugs can affect your test results. Your doctor may tell you to stop taking a particular medication or to change the dosage temporarily.
Some medications that can affect the amount of amylase in your blood include:
The procedure involves taking a sample of blood through a vein, usually in your arm. This process only takes a few minutes:
Laboratories can differ in what they consider to be a normal amount of amylase in the blood. Some labs define a normal amount to be 23 to 85 units per liter (U/L), while others consider 40 to 140 U/L to be normal. Make sure you speak with your doctor about your results and what they could mean.
Abnormal results can happen for a number of reasons. The underlying cause depends on whether the level of amylase in your blood is too high or too low.
A high amylase count may a sign of the following conditions:
A low amylase count can indicate the following problems:
You should discuss your test results with your doctor. They can help you understand the results and what they mean for your health. Depending on your results, further testing may need to be done.
Written by: Tony Watt
Published on: Aug 07, 2012on: Sep 13, 2017
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