What does it mean when your pancreas levels are high?Wwebmd
Updated: 12th November 2019
Gallstones and alcohol are common causes of acute pancreatitis. Other causes include high levels of fats in the blood, certain drugs, certain medical procedures, and some infections. Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation that gets worse over time and leads to permanent damage in the pancreas.
Is pancreatitis reversible?
The changes of chronic pancreatitis are not reversible. However, it is possible to have control of pain and steatorrhea with medical, endoscopic, percutaneous or surgical treatment.
What lipase level indicate pancreatitis?
A normal lipase level can range from 0-160 U/L depending on the lab. When the pancreas is damaged, these digestive enzymes can be found in the blood at higher levels than normal. Amylase or lipase results more than three times normal levels are likely to mean pancreatitis or damage to your pancreas.
The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are similar to those of acute pancreatitis. Patients frequently feel constant pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to the back. In some patients, the pain may be disabling. Other symptoms are diarrhea and weight loss caused by poor absorption (malabsorption) of food.
Blood amylase and lipase levels are most frequently drawn to diagnose pancreatitis. When the pancreas is inflamed, increased blood levels of the pancreatic enzymes called amylase and lipase will result. The normal lipase level is 12-70 U/L. Normal values may vary from laboratory to laboratory.
Foods to limit include:
- red meat.
- organ meats.
- fried foods.
- fries and potato chips.
- margarine and butter.
- full-fat dairy.
- pastries and desserts with added sugars.
It's possible to live without a pancreas. But when the entire pancreas is removed, people are left without the cells that make insulin and other hormones that help maintain safe blood sugar levels. These people develop diabetes, which can be hard to manage because they are totally dependent on insulin shots.
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis?
- pain in your upper abdomen.
- fatty stools, which are loose, pale, and don't flush away easily.
- nausea and vomiting.
- shortness of breath.
- unexplained weight loss.
- excessive thirst and fatigue.
Pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Serum amylase and/or lipase levels: Elevated in less than 50% of patients with resectable pancreatic cancers and in only 25% of patients with unresectable tumors.
Scientists don't know exactly what causes most pancreatic cancers, but they have found several risk factors that can make a person more likely to get this disease. Some of these risk factors affect the DNA of cells in the pancreas, which can result in abnormal cell growth and may cause tumors to form.
While it is well established that a previous acute-short-term stress decreases the severity of experimentally-induced pancreatitis, the worsening effects of chronic stress on the exocrine pancreas have received relatively little attention.
Though there is no cure for chronic pancreatitis, some patients can reduce the symptoms and make up for nutritional deficiencies. Doctors often prescribe digestive enzymes and vitamin supplements. Patients who develop diabetes may have to take insulin shots and follow strict diets.
Unless the pancreatic duct or bile duct is blocked by gallstones, an acute attack usually lasts only a few days. In severe cases, a person may require intravenous feeding for 3 to 6 weeks while the pancreas slowly heals.
The main symptom of pancreatitis is pain felt in the upper left side or middle of the abdomen. The pain: May be worse within minutes after eating or drinking at first, more commonly if foods have a high fat content. Becomes constant and more severe, lasting for several days.
Severe pancreatitis can result in damage to other vital organs such as the heart, lung and kidneys. There are two forms of pancreatitis: acute and chronic: Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly and may result in life-threatening complications; however the majority of patients (80 percent) recover completely.
Diagnosing pancreatitis. Your doctor will likely use a combination of blood tests and imaging studies to make a diagnosis. If you have acute pancreatitis, you'll have severe abdominal pain and blood tests may show a significant rise in your level of pancreatic enzymes.
Conditions that can lead to pancreatitis include:
- Abdominal surgery.
- Certain medications.
- Cigarette smoking.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Family history of pancreatitis.
- High calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia), which may be caused by an overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism)
Also, as mentioned before, lipase starts to increase within 4-8 hours of onset of acute pancreatitis and peaks at 24 hours. Amylase on the other hand, starts to rise after 6- 24 hours and peaks at 48 hours. Lipase stays elevated for 8-14 days, much longer than amylase, which stays elevated for 5-7 days [8,21-22].
Chronic inflammation of the pancreas can damage the cells that produce insulin. That can lead to diabetes. Pancreatitis and type 2 diabetes share some of the same risk factors. Observational studies indicate that people with type 2 diabetes may have a two- to threefold increased risk of acute pancreatitis.
Studies have shown that high cholesterol increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, circulation problems and death. In one study, cholesterol levels in young men with no known heart disease were measured and documented. The primary risk from high triglyceride levels is inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
Liver function test: Measures liver enzymes and levels of bilirubin (pancreatic cancer causes elevated bilirubin in the blood) CA19-9: Measures a type of protein in the blood that is often associated with pancreatic cancer (this protein can be present in non-cancerous conditions as well)
This test measures the amount of lipase in your blood. Lipase is an enzyme that is made by your pancreas. Higher levels of lipase may mean you have a problem with your pancreas. Most often this means acute pancreatitis, or sudden inflammation of the pancreas.
Some mild cases resolve without treatment, but severe, acute pancreatitis can trigger potentially fatal complications. Acute pancreatitis starts suddenly, but chronic pancreatitis is recurring or persistent. This article will focus on acute pancreatitis.