Amylase is a heterogeneous calcium-dependent metalloenzyme of MW 54-62 kDa.
It exists as two isoenzymes: pancreatic (P-type) and non-pancreatic (S-type).
These isoenzymes are products of two closely linked loci on chromosome 1. Additional amylase heterogeneity is due to allelic variation (S-type, 12 alleles; P-type, 6 alleles). The enzyme amylase plays a vital role in the digestion of carbohydrates.
It is produced by the pancreas and the salivary glands. Disease, infection or inflammation of these glands causes the release of amylase into the blood or urine in increased levels.
The pancreas is one of the most important organs present within the human body. Amylase is an enzyme produced by the pancreas and the salivary glands of the body and is it used extensively in the process of digestion. The enzymes help the body break down the ingested food, and promotes digestion.
If the pancreas is not functioning correctly, it may start to produce varying amounts of amylase. Both too little and too much amylase in the body is something that needs to be checked and may indicate something wrong in the body. In case of the amount of amylase, the normal range will be observed if the body is free from disorders.
To test the amount of amylase in the body, you will most likely have to provide a sample of your blood. The serum from the blood is analysed to get the results. In rare cases, you will also have to provide a sample of your urine.
The test is carried out if the doctor thinks that you may have pancreatitis, a condition in which the pancreas is inflamed.
A lot of other pancreatic disorders can also cause this spike in the levels of amylase, including pancreatic pseudocyst, cancer in the pancreas and pancreatic abscess.
You can expect to get the test results within 24 to 36 hours after you give the sample.
If the doctor suspects that you have diseases like pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, you will have to do this test.
If you have symptoms like upper abdominal pain, anorexia, loss of appetite and nausea, you might be prescribed an amylase test.
Preparatory instructions during specimen collection*: The patient should not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to the test so that the results are not compromised. The patient should also not drink or eat anything for at least two hours before the test starts.
If you are already under medication for any other problems, you should tell your doctor before the test. Some drugs should not be consumed before the test, so the doctor might tell you to stop the medication temporarily or at least change the dosage for the right result.
These medicines include asparaginase, aspirin, methyldopa, opiates and thiazide diuretics among many others.
Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample)
Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.
The doctor or nurse will first apply some antiseptic over the area where the needle is about to be inserted and tie a tourniquet so that the vein starts to swell out. You might feel a slight prick when the needle pushes into the vein, but the test is not painful at all in any other way.
If the amount of blood collected is enough, then the needle will be taken away and a bandage will be applied over the affected area. This blood is then tested for the amylase content in it.
Amylase serum range levels can either be high or low, depending upon your health condition. High levels of amylase mean that you might have an inflamed pancreas, and the condition is called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis may be acute or chronic and varies in its degree. If the pancreatitis is acute, the situation usually dies down and becomes normal within a few days.
However, chronic pancreatitis lasts longer and may start to affect you periodically. It occurs when the enzymes start to break down the tissue of the pancreas rather than the ingested food, resulting in this harmful condition.
A condition called cholecystitis may also be the reason why the amylase levels are so high. In this condition, gallstones get lodged in the all bladder and cause a blockage in the digestive system. The amylase levels in the body start to rise if there is inflammation or blockage in that area.
Other conditions like gastric ulcer, gastroenteritis and ectopic pregnancy may also be the reason as to why the amylase levels in the body are so high.
Low Amylase levels
Preeclampsia also called the toxaemia of pregnancy may be the reason as to why the amylase levels in the body are so low. High blood pressure during pregnancy is the major cause of this condition.
If your kidney is affected in any way, it might also result in the amylase levels in the blood going down. The reason may be diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure in the body.
In any way, you should discuss the test results with your doctor. The doctor will be able to help you understand what the condition of your body is, and how it can be combated to help you become normal again. In some cases, further tests may also be prescribed to you.
Since you are expected to only give a small amount of blood as a sample, this test is not risky in itself. However, the results of the test may point to some underlying conditions which can be hard to tackle, so the best thing to do would be to consult a doctor about your test results, and ask him for counsel.
|20 to 330 units per liter (U/L)||Normal|
‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’
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