What is an Amylase Test?
An amylase test is a test that measures the amount of amylase levels in your blood or urine. An enzyme or specific protein called amylase helps break down carbs. Most of the amylase present in the body is produced by your pancreas and salivary glands.
It's normal to have a tiny quantity of amylase in your blood and urine. However, having too much or too little might be a symptom of a pancreatic or salivary gland issue or another illness.
Other names: Other names for this test are amy test, serum amylase, urine amylase.
What are the uses of the Amylase Test?
The primary function of tests for amylase in blood or urine is to identify pancreatic issues, such as pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. It is used to monitor chronic (long-term) pancreatitis.
Amylase levels increase and decrease in blood before they do in urine. Hence an amylase urine test can be performed concurrently with or after an amylase blood test.
Other illnesses that may impact amylase levels, such as salivary gland issues and other digestive issues, may also be diagnosed or treated using one or both of the amylase tests.
What is the need an amylase test?
If you exhibit signs of a pancreatic problem, your doctor may request a blood or urine test for amylase. The following symptoms may appear quickly or gradually:
An amylase test may also be prescribed by your healthcare physician to track one or more pancreatic conditions, such as:
What happens during an amylase test?
A tiny needle will be used by a medical expert to draw blood from a vein in your arm for an amylase blood test. A tiny amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial once the needle has been placed. The needle may hurt somewhat when it enters or exits your body. Usually, this only needs a few minutes.
You must provide a urine sample in order to receive an amylase pee test. You could be given a cleaning wipe, a little container, and instructions on how to take a urine sample using the "clean catch" technique by a medical practitioner. It's crucial to adhere to these guidelines to prevent skin-derived bacteria from contaminating the sample:
- Dry your hands after washing them with soap and water.
- Without touching the interior, open the container.
- Use the cleansing wipe to clean your genital region.
- After a brief period of urinating into the toilet, stop. Once more, begin to urinate, but this time into the container. Keep the container away from your body.
- Fill the container with at least one or two ounces of pee. There should be marks on the container indicating how much pee is required.
- Attach the container's cap before returning it as directed.
Inform your provider before the test if you have bleeding hemorrhoids or are in the middle of your period.
Your healthcare doctor can ask you to collect all of your pee in one 24-hour period. This is due to the fact that urine's amylase content might change throughout the day. Therefore, taking many samples throughout the day can provide a more accurate picture of your amylase levels. You will receive a container and detailed instructions on collecting your sample at home for this test. Make sure you properly adhere to all directions.
Your doctor may occasionally request a peritoneal fluid amylase test from you. This liquid lies between the tissue layers that line the interior of your belly and protect most of your organs. A medical expert will numb your skin before using a needle and tubing to pull fluid into a container to get a sample.
How to prepare for the test?
Prior to a blood or urine test for amylase, you should abstain from alcohol for 24 hours. Your healthcare professional might also advise you to fast (avoid food and liquids for two hours before the test) if you are having a blood test. In case there are any particular instructions to follow, your provider will let you know.
What are the risks of this test?
There are no risks or dangers associated with the test. You could have a little discomfort or bruising when the needle was inserted during a blood test, but mostly it will disappear rapidly.
Having a urine test has no recognized risks.
You can have a little lightheadedness or dizziness following a peritoneal fluid test. The needle might damage your intestines or bladder, which could result in bleeding or infection.
What do the results imply?
When result shows high levels of amylase in blood or urine it indicates:
- Acute pancreatitis
- A blockage in a duct in the pancreas
- Pancreatic cancer or benign (not cancer) tumor
High levels of amylase in the peritoneal fluid may indicate:
- Acute pancreatitis
- Lack of blood flow to the intestines
- A blocked intestine
When result shows low levels of amylase in blood or urine it indicates:
- ADVANCED CHRONIC PANCREATITIS
- Kidney disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Liver disease
- Pre-eclampsia (a type of high blood pressure in pregnancy)
Any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking should be disclosed to your healthcare practitioner since they may have an impact on your test findings. Speak with your provider to learn more about your results.
Important information to know about an amylase test?
In addition to an amylase blood test, your doctor could prescribe a lipase blood test if they think you have pancreatitis. The pancreas also produces the enzyme lipase. When alcohol use disorder is the underlying cause of pancreatitis, lipase tests are thought to be more reliable for diagnosing.