This test measures the level of the enzyme amylase in your blood.
About 40 percent of the amylase in your body is made by your pancreas, and the rest comes from your salivary glands. Amylase levels in your blood rise when your pancreas or your salivary glands are inflamed. This can be caused by an infection, cancer, or even alcohol or drugs you are taking.
You might need this test to help your doctor diagnose or manage a medical condition. These conditions include:
Pancreatitis, especially acute pancreatitis
Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa
Gastrointestinal conditions, such as perforated peptic ulcers, appendicitis, infections, or tumors
The test may also be done in an emergency situation.
Your doctor may also order these tests:
Liver function tests
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health care provider.
The normal range for amylase in a blood sample is 0 to 130 units per liter (U/L).
If your amylase levels are higher than normal, you may have one of a number of conditions. These include:
Acute pancreatitis, in which amylase levels are three times greater than normal
Abscess of the pancreas
Perforated peptic ulcer
Blockage in your intestines
Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
Salivary gland inflammation
Use of drugs such as morphine
Carcinomatosis of the lung, esophagus, or ovary
Eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa
Your levels may also be higher after a pancreatic procedure called a cholangiopancreatography.
Your amylase levels may be lower in these conditions:
Other conditions, unrelated to pancreatic, abdominal, or salivary gland disease, may affect your amylase levels. These include:
Macroamylasemia, a benign condition that men may develop in their middle years
Kidney problems, especially kidney failure or recent transplant
Higher blood triglycerides, a type of fat, called hypertriglyceridemia
The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.
Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.
Certain medications such as aspirin, drugs that contain estrogen, and opiates like morphine may affect your test results. Alcohol use can also affect your results. Pregnancy and having had a recent kidney transplant can also affect your results.
You don't need to prepare for this test. But be sure your doctor knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.