What is Pancreatic Amylase?
Pancreatic amylase is an enzyme that is important for the body's digestive ability when digesting carbohydrates. The enzyme is produced in the pancreas and is used to break down starch into small sugar molecules, such as maltose and glucose, which can then be absorbed in the intestine and used as an energy source.
Why should pancreatic amylase be analyzed?
The concentration of pancreatic amylase in the blood can be analyzed to diagnose diseases affecting the pancreas, such as inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatic cancer. An elevated level of pancreatic amylase in the blood may possibly indicate damage to the pancreas.
What can elevated levels of pancreatic amylase cause?
An elevated pancreatic amylase value may indicate damage to the pancreas. The most common cause of elevated levels of pancreatic amylase is acute pancreatitis, which means an acute inflammation of the pancreas. Other causes of high levels of pancreatic amylase can be chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, blockage of the pancreatic ducts, or trauma to the pancreas.
Symptoms in case of elevated levels of pancreatic amycase
Acute pancreatitis is the most common cause of elevated levels of pancreatic amylase. The symptoms of this condition can be:
- Severe pain in the upper part of the abdomen, which may radiate to the back or chest
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the abdomen
Are low levels of pancreatic amylase dangerous?
No, usually low values are not associated with any specific symptoms or diseases. In general, low levels of pancreatic amylase are considered less clinically relevant than high levels of the enzyme.