Amylase Test

amylase test

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is Amylase?

Amylase is a digestive enzyme that helps in the breaking down of carbohydrates and starch into sugar molecules. The protein is produced mostly in the pancreas and some parts by the salivary glands.

A little bit of amylase in the blood or urine is considered to be normal. But when the pancreas is not functioning properly, large amounts of amylase is released in the blood and urine and may be indicative of a serious medical condition.

What is an Amylase test?

An Amylase test can be a blood test and/or a urine test and helps to measure the amylase levels in the blood or urine. An Amylase blood test helps to diagnose if there is any problem or inflammation with the pancreas, pancreatitis, or any other medical condition. An Amylase urine test can be ordered after or along with the blood test and will help to monitor salivary glands and pancreatic disorders.

Does the Amylase test have any other names?

Yes. The other names of the Amylase test are:

– Amy test.
– Serum Amylase.
– Urine Amylase.

Why do I need an Amylase test?

There are several medical conditions that may affect the Amylase levels in the blood. Your doctor may order an Amylase test if he suspects you are suffering from the following medical conditions:

Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas.
– Digestive problems.
– Kidney disorder.
– Pancreatic pseudocyst.
– Pancreatic cancer.
– Cancer of the lungs.
Ovarian cancer.
– Blockage of the bile duct.
– Gallbladder stones.
Cystic fibrosis can cause lung diseases.
– Kidney transplant. 

When do I need an Amylase test?

Your health care provider may ask you to do an Amylase test if you are experiencing the following symptoms such as:

– Loose stools
Jaundice or yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin.
– Eating disorder.
– Acute abdominal pain.
– Diarrhea
– Fever
– Nausea

How do I prepare for the Amylase test?

There are no specific preparations for this test. However, you may be asked to stop drinking alcohol at least 24 hours before the test.

– If you are taking any particular medication that may affect your amylase test results, you must notify that to your doctor before the test.

– For a 24-hour urine sample, your doctor may ask you to collect different samples of urine throughout the day.

– This will help your doctor to monitor the amylase levels of your urine at different times of the day.

Do I need to fast before the test?

You generally do not need to fast before the test. In certain cases, especially if you are doing other blood tests, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything other than water two hours before the test.

How is the test done?

For the Amylase blood test:

– A technician will visit you and take a blood sample from the vein of your arm.

– He will clean a small patch of skin on your arm with an antiseptic solution.

– A tourniquet or an elastic band is tied around the arm to swell up the veins.

– A small needle is inserted into the vein and blood is withdrawn and collected into a small vial or syringe.

– The tourniquet is removed and a cotton swab is applied on the spot to stop bleeding.

– A band-aid is then applied to the puncture site.

For the urine test, a ‘clean catch’ sample is used. To collect the ‘clean catch’ sample you may follow these simple steps:

– Wash your hands before taking the sample.

– Cleanse your genital area with a cleaning pad.

– Start urinating in the toilet.

– Hold the urine collection container under your urine stream and catch one or two ounces of urine.

– Put the lid gently on the container and deposit the sample to the laboratory.

How long will the test take to perform?

The test will take only 5 minutes.

How will I feel during the test?

Both the blood and the urine sample tests are simple. For the blood test, you will feel a little stinging sensation while the blood is withdrawn from your veins. For the urine test, you will feel no discomfort.

When will I get my test reports?

You will get your amylase test reports within a day or two.

Is there any risk to the tests?

There are little or no risks to the blood test. You may feel slight discomfort or bruising after the blood has been withdrawn. This sensation will go away in a short while. In some cases, people may experience certain symptoms after the blood test such as:

– Redness in the puncture site.
– Excess bleeding and bruising (slight swelling)
– Hematoma or clotting under the skin.

These symptoms are rare and if they persist, you are advised to consult a doctor immediately. The urine test has no risks or side effects.

What is the average cost of the Amylase test in India?

The average cost of the Amylase test in India can be anywhere between Rs 150 to Rs 1450 depending on the city, laboratory, and the quality of the test.

What is the normal range of Amylase?

The reference range for blood and urine Amylase.

Type  Amylase Range
Blood 40-140 U/L (Units per liter)
Urine 2.6-21.2 IU/h (International units per hour)

The reference range may vary slightly in different laboratories. It is advised to talk to the laboratory technician or the doctor who will explain the meaning of the test reports.

What does abnormal test results mean?

Abnormal test results show a value higher or lower than the normal range. An abnormal report may indicate a disorder of the pancreas or any other medical condition.

A high Amylase level may indicate

– Acute pancreatitis or a massive inflammation of the pancreas.
– Cancer of the pancreas.
– Cancer of lungs or ovaries.
– Severe gastroenteritis.
Gallbladder blockage.
– Bile duct blockage.
– Ectopic or tubal pregnancy.
Peptic ulcer.
– Mumps or infection of the salivary glands.
– Intestinal blockage.
– Blockage of the pancreas.

A low Amylase level may indicate the following medical conditions:

Pancreatic cancer.
Kidney diseases.
Liver diseases.
Cystic fibrosis.
Toxemia or preeclampsia during pregnancy.

What other tests can be ordered along with this test?

Your health care provider may order a few other tests along with the Amylase test such as:

– Lipase test.
– Trypsinogen test.
Liver function tests.
– An abdominal CT.
– MRI scan.
– An abdominal ultrasound.

What is the importance of the Amylase test during pregnancy?

The Amylase test is a crucial marker for detecting ectopic pregnancy, inflammation of the pancreas, and acute pancreatitis in pregnant women. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy may cause severe hemorrhage, infertility, and even death. So, a serum amylase along with a lipase test can be done for clinical diagnosis, early detection, and immediate initiation of the treatment plan.

Can the Amylase test be done in children?

Yes. An Amylase test can be ordered by your pediatrician or health care provider if he suspects your child has a problem with the pancreas or any other medical condition. The test is very simple. You can be present with your child during the test. In babies and infants, a “heel-stick collection” system can be used to withdraw the blood sample. In case, your child is feeling anxious or lightheaded, you can speak to your doctor or try out ways to make the procedure easier.

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