An amylase test is used to measure the amount of amylase in your blood or urine
. Amylase is an enzyme, which acts as catalysts for certain biochemical reactions, that aid in the digestion of food. The majority of amylase in the body is created in the salivary glands and pancreas. A small amount of amylase in the urine and blood is normal. The amount you have, whether it’d be larger or smaller amount can mean that there is an infection, disorder of the pancreas
, alcoholism, or another medical condition.
An amylase blood test
can be used to monitor or diagnose an issue with the pancreas
, such as pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. An amylase urine test may be in addition to an amylase blood test. Urine amylase results can aid in diagnosing salivary gland and pancreatic disorders. One or both types of tests may be used to help monitor amylase
levels in people who are being treated for pancreatic or other related disorders.
Your physician or healthcare provider may order both amylase blood and urine
test if you are showing symptoms of a pancreatic disorder. Some of the symptoms included are nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and severe abdominal pain. Your health care provider may also think it is appropriate to order an amylase test to monitor an existing condition, like pregnancy, eating disorder, or pancreatitis.
For an amylase blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. Once the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. It may cause a stinging feeling when the needle goes in or out. This process will most likely take less than five minutes. For an amylase urine test, you will be given instructions to provide a specimen that is referred to as a “clean-catch” sample.
The clean-catch method includes the following steps:
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- Wash your hands
- Clean your genital area with a cleansing pad given to you by your provider. Men should wipe the tip of their penis. Women should open their labia and clean from front to back.
- Start to urinate into the toilet.
- Move the collection container under your urine stream.
- Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container, which should have markings to indicate the amounts.
- Finish urinating into the toilet.
- Return the sample container as instructed by your healthcare provider.
The healthcare professional onsite may ask that you collect all your urine during a 24-hour period. For this test, your healthcare provider will provide a container and specific instructions on how to collect the samples at home. It is important to follow all of the provided directions carefully. This 24-hour period for the urine sample test is used because the amounts of substances in the urine, including amylase, can vary throughout the day. This is why collecting several samples in a day may give a more accurate picture of your urine content. There are no special preparations required for amylase blood or urine test. There is a very small risk of having a blood or urine test. During a blood test, you may experience slight pain or bruise at the spot where the needle was put in, but for the most part, these symptoms go away soon after having your blood drawn.
If your lab results show abnormal levels of amylase in your blood or urine, it may be because you have a pancreas
disorder or other medical condition. High levels of amylase may indicate many issues. For example, acute pancreatitis, which is a sudden and severe inflammation of the pancreas. When treated promptly, it usually gets better within a few days. It can also mean there is a blockage in the pancreas
or pancreatic cancer. Low levels of amylase is an indicator of the following conditions: liver disease, cystic fibrosis, and chronic pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas
that worsens over time and can lead to permanent damage. Chronic pancreatitis is usually caused by heavy alcohol use.
It is critical to tell your healthcare provider about any over the counter medicines or prescription you are taking because they can alter your results. If you would like more information about your results, be sure to have a conversation with your physician. If they suspect you have pancreatitis, they may order other blood tests, like a lipase blood test, along with an amylase blood test
. Lipase is another enzyme that is generated by the pancreas. Lipase tests are considered to be a more accurate way to detect pancreatitis, especially in pancreatitis that is caused by alcohol abuse.
The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum, the very first part of the small intestine. It is responsible for secreting enzymes into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes join with a liquid produced in the liver, bile, and stores it in the gallbladder to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones
insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream
, which helps the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. With pancreatitis, sometimes the enzymes become activated and begin to digest the pancreas itself. Treatment can be very painful and requires hospitalization most of the time. If it’s not caught early, it can turn into a life-threatening illness. The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the presence of gallstones, which are small, stone-like substances made of hardened bile that can cause inflammation in the pancreas as they pass through the common bile duct. Heavy alcohol consumption is another common cause. Acute pancreatitis can occur within hours or as long as 2 days after consuming alcohol. Other causes of acute pancreatitis include abdominal trauma, medications, infections, tumors, and genetic abnormalities of the pancreas. Researchers studied the problem of pancreatitis and learned that eating vegetables can lower the risk of developing pancreatitis. The study found that people who ate at least four servings of vegetables a day lowered their risk of developing pancreatitis by 44 percent compared to people who seldom ate vegetables. The following are a few ways that may help prevent pancreatitis: limit your intake of alcohol as much as possible, keep your triglycerides in a healthy range (less than 150 mg/dL), and eat four or more servings of vegetables each day.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute has found that a deficiency of a fat cell hormone known as adiponectin may heighten the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Adiponectin is a hormone in the bloodstream and is used to reduce inflammation and helps with the body’s sensitivity to insulin. If you are deficient in the fat cell hormone, you are at increased risk for many diseases. The study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed data from cancer pancreatic cancer patients as compared to healthy patients and found a relationship between low adiponectin levels and pancreatic cancer development.
Scientists know that there is a link between obesity, insulin resistance, and pancreatic cancer risk, but this new study shows additional correlation with the hormone adiponectin and the increased probability of developing pancreatic cancer. The pancreas produces two hormones, insulin, and glucagon, that help with regulating blood sugar levels. Although studies do not know if diabetes causes pancreatic cancer, it is more commonly diagnosed amongst those who have diabetes. Watch for the following symptoms that may be related to pancreas issues: some symptoms of pancreatic cancer include, dark-colored urine and feces, jaundice, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pain, and lack of pain.
Physicians will use blood tests, in addition to ultrasounds & MRIs, to diagnose and treat pancreas issues. The most prevalent blood test is a general screening test.
To prevent the condition, it is recommended that people abstain from smoking, eat a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and exercise frequently.
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Why the Pancreas and Amylase blood test are related
Ensure your pancreas is functioning correctly by getting a discount online blood tests
A healthy pancreas produces the correct chemicals in the proper quantities, at the right times, to digest the foods we eat.
Two of the main pancreatic hormones are insulin
, which acts to lower blood sugar and glucagon
Why having your blood tested for amylase enzymes is a good health indicator
An amylase blood test
is usually done if your doctor suspects pancreatitis. Pancreatitis means that the pancreas is inflamed, in which case your amylase levels will be higher than normal. Other pancreatic disorders could include pancreatic pseudocyst, pancreatic abscess, and pancreatic cancer.
Benefits of a-amylase blood test
- Diagnostic tool to determine if your pancreas is functioning correctly
- Blood tests can show if you have any issues with your pancreas and should be discussed with your physician
- Catching pancreas disease early gives patients the best prognosis
- Ordering your own lab tests can save you time and money