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This test measures the level of the enzyme amylase in your blood.
About 40% of the amylase in your body is made by your pancreas. The rest comes from your salivary glands. This test is used to find out whether your pancreas or your salivary glands are swollen. If you have a pancreatic disorder, your amylase levels are usually higher than normal. High levels can also be caused by an infection, cancer, or even alcohol or medicines you are taking.
You might need this test to help your doctor diagnose or manage a health problem. These problems include:
Pancreatitis, especially acute pancreatitis
Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa
Digestive conditions such as perforated peptic ulcers, appendicitis, infections, or tumors
The test may also be done in an emergency.
Your health care provider 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 adults for amylase in a blood sample is 30 to 110 units per liter (U/L).
If your amylase levels are higher than normal, you may have one of many conditions. These include:
Sudden swelling of the pancreas (acute pancreatitis)
Chronic pancreatitis that suddenly gets worse
Cancers of the pancreas, breast, colon, ovary, or lung
A sore in the pancreas
A type of cyst in the pancreas (pancreatic pseudocysts)
Swelling in your abdomen (ascites)
Macroamylasemia, which is having an abnormal substance called macroamylase in your blood
Peptic ulcer that has a hole in it (perforated ulcer)
Death of tissue in your intestine (intestinal infarction)
Blockage in your intestines
Sudden swelling of the gallbladder (acute cholecystitis)
Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
Salivary gland swelling
Swelling of the lining of your abdomen (peritonitis)
Use of drugs such as morphine
Tumors in the prostate
Inflammatory bowel disease
Higher levels of triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia)
Your levels may also be higher after a pancreatic procedure such as a cholangiopancreatography. They may also be higher after surgery or trauma.
Your amylase levels may be lower in these conditions:
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 medicines such as aspirin, medicines that contain estrogen, and pain relievers 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 health care provider 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.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.