Lipase is an enzyme released by the pancreas into the small intestine. Lipase activates the breaking down of fat into fatty acids. A test helps to determine if a person has elevated or normal lipase levels. High levels of lipase in the blood, or hyperlipasemia indicates the presence of pancreas problems.
Listed below, are the causes of elevated and slightly elevated level of lipase.
- Inflammation or infection of gallbladder can cause elevated lipase levels
- There can be elevation in lipase levels in cases of pancreatic cancer
- Lipase levels can also increase due to certain stomach disorders, such conditions are usually painful
- Kidney failure is another cause of high lipase levels
- High amount of triglycerides causes hyperlipasemia
- Inflammation of the pancreas, which is also called pancreatitis, causes sometimes to increase the lipase levels three times the normal amount
- Gallstones, which block the flow of secretions which occur from the pancreas into the intestines can lead to elevated lipase levels
- Obesity also leads to high lipase levels
- If one is having a family history of chronic pancreatitis, then there is a possibility of the person having elevated lipase levels
There are usually no symptoms of hyperlipasemia, till a person has developed a condition like pancreatitis
- A person who has got inflammation of pancreas and developed pancreatitis will show symptoms similar to diabetes symptoms. These symptoms include frequent urination, fatigue, loss of weight and excessive thirst
- Some more symptoms of pancreatitis are sweating, pain in the middle of the chest which may radiate to the back
- If a person is having a condition similar to pancreatitis, the symptoms experienced usually are abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
Test to Check Lipase Levels
If the pancreas is damaged, lipase appears in the blood and its level can be determined by a blood test.
Preparing for the Test: One should not eat for 8 hours before the test, also the health care provider may ask you to stop taking the medicines which affect the test results. Such drugs include meperidine, bethanechol, cholinergic, indomethacin, methacholine, codeine and morphine.
Procedure of the Test: The lipase test is a blood test. In this test the blood is drawn from a vein from the back of the hand or elbow. The area is first cleaned with antiseptic, then the blood is drawn and cotton is used to stop the blood from flowing. In children a sharp tool, called lancet is used to draw out the blood. The test feels like a prick, and can be painful to some people.
Test Results: The normal value of the lipase levels is from 0 to 160 units per liter(U/L). However, the normal values slightly differ from lab to lab.
Hyperlipasemia Prevention Tips
- One of the major prevention tip is to avoid alcohol. Alcohol irritates the liver and pancreas. It also cause certain interactions with medications.
- If you are on prescribed medications for elevated lipase levels, then take your medications regularly.
- Eating healthy can also prevent high lipase levels. So, go for a low-fat diet, and eat a lot of fibrous foods like fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Have 2-3 liters of water in a day.
- Follow-up regularly with the doctors. In case you are taking any other medications inform your doctor.
Elevated Lipase Levels Risk
If a person shows, elevated level of lipase it may indicate the following conditions:
- If a person shows, higher lipase levels the person might have cholecystitis with effect on the pancreas
- It can also indicate the person has pancreatic cancer
- If the test shows elevated level of lipase, the person can be having stomach ulcer or blockage
- The person has possibly got viral gastroenteritis, due to the high lipase levels
The test is also performed to check for chronic pancreatitis and familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency. Talk to your doctor about the test results, and according to the condition you are suffering from, the doctor will provide an appropriate treatment.