Our body produces an enzyme known as lipase which helps in the process of breaking down the lipids (fats) present in the food we eat. This fat is broken down in order to be absorbed by the intestines. This enzyme is produced by the pancreas, mouth, and the stomach. The condition wherein the lipase levels in the body are elevated is also known as hyperlipasemia, which can be due to problems in the pancreas of a person wherein the pancreas may either be damaged or the pancreatic duct (a tube connecting the pancreas to the small intestine) could be blocked. However, there can be several other causes for it. These will be discussed as this article proceeds further.
Common Causes of Abnormally High Lipase Levels
Your doctor would advice you to go for a lipase test if you have been experiencing some signs and symptoms of pancreatitis or other abdominal problems. Usually, the symptoms may include abdominal pain and discomfort, pain in the center of the chest and back, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, weight loss, sweating, increased urination and thirst, diarrhea, fever, and so on. However, there are many cases wherein a person with high lipase levels in the body may not show any signs and symptoms at all! The different reasons behind elevated lipase levels are discussed as under.
- Obesity or being overweight
- Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas
- Cholecystitis, or gallbladder inflammation
- Pancreatic duct blockage
- Kidney failure and other kidney problems
- Cystic fibrosis
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Intestinal problems such as blockage or death of a tissue
- Cancer of the pancreas
- Cancer of the salivary gland
- Infection or swelling of the salivary gland
- Some stomach conditions including ulcers or infections
Lipase Test Procedure and Normal Values
A lipase test is advised by the doctor as a result of the symptoms one might experience. The test is also done to check the effectiveness of the treatment that is being done. After 8-12 hours of water fasting, a blood sample is collected from the veins of the inner elbow by inserting a medicated syringe. This blood sample is then sent to the laboratory for further evaluation. The normal lipase level range varies from laboratory to laboratory, however, the normal acceptable range is 0 to 160 units per liter (U/L). It is mandatory to consult with your doctor to understand what your test results mean. Generally, people who have been drinking a lot of alcohol, have a family history of pancreatitis, are overweight, or have high levels of triglyceride levels in the blood, are susceptible to having high lipase levels.
Preventive Measures to Avoid High Lipase Levels?
Considering the fact that the most common reason for hyperlipasemia is a pancreatic problem, which may also be linked to many other serious health issues, it is important to take the necessary precautions for prevention. Mentioned below are some tips to control the levels of lipase in the body.
- Consult your doctor
- Quit drinking and smoking
- Eat a low cholesterol and low-fat diet
- Drink lots of water everyday
- Eat foods high in fiber that can be easily digested
- Take the prescribed medications and drugs on time
- Maintain an active lifestyle
If you come under the risk zone or have a family history of this problem, it is strictly recommended to consult with your doctor at regular intervals to ensure that the levels stay within acceptable limits and that the treatment plan works effectively. The lifestyle changes mentioned above would definitely help in the long run.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice.