What is Lipase?
Lipase is an enzyme primarily secreted by the pancreas, which helps in the digestion of dietary fats (lipids). The Lipase Test measures the level of the lipase enzyme in the blood.
Why is Lipase done?
The Lipase Test is performed:
· To help in the diagnosis of acute as well as chronic pancreatitis
· To help determine a blockage in the pancreatic duct
· To monitor treatment effectiveness for pancreatitis
· To help diagnose other conditions like kidney diseases, gallbladder inflammation etc.
What does Lipase Measure?
Lipase is an enzyme, which helps in the breakdown and digestion of dietary triglycerides (fats) into simple fatty acids for absorption. Lipase is secreted primarily by the pancreas, and in small amounts by the stomach, intestines, and the liver. The pancreas secretes lipase into the pancreatic duct, which flows into the duodenum (anterior portion of the small intestine). Normally only a small amount of lipase is secreted into the blood and is maintained at this low level. However, in the case of conditions like pancreatitis, blockage of the pancreatic duct, pancreatic cysts or tumors, etc., the levels of lipase in the blood get increased.
The Lipase Test may be performed together with Amylase Test to help in the diagnosis of pancreatitis or other conditions. Amylase levels also increase in case of pancreatitis. In Pancreatitis, Lipase rises almost at the same time as amylase (4-8 hrs) but the elevation lasts much longer (7-14 days) as compared to amylase.
Interpreting Lipase results
Below 1 year age: Up to 8 U/L
1-9 years age: 5-31 U/L
10-18 years age: 7-39 U/L
Above 18 years age: Less than 67 U/L
Higher than normal levels of lipase are usually associated with pancreatitis, blockage of the pancreatic duct, pancreatic tumors, inflammation of the gallbladder, and kidney diseases. In case of acute pancreatitis, lipase levels rise quickly within about 4 to 8 hours of an attack and may remain high for up to 14 days.
Very low levels of lipase may indicate pancreatic damage as in diseases like cystic fibrosis.