This enzyme digests fats in the GI tract, and high levels can suggest inflammation of the pancreas.
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PREPARATION: Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours before the test. You should also not eat or drink anything except water for at least 2 hours before having the test.
What does this test do?
This test determines the concentration of lipase circulating in the bloodstream. Lipase is an enzyme that is produced by the pancreas. After eating a meal the pancreas secretes lipase into the small intestine, where it breaks down large fat molecules into smaller, digestible fatty acids.
What do the results mean?
An abnormally high level of lipase is most commonly associated with pancreatitis, a condition where the pancreas is inflamed. Pancreatitis is caused by alcoholism, trauma, and conditions such as gallstones and pancreatic cancers, which can block the tube leading from the pancreas to the beginning of the small intestine.
A lower than normal lipase level – particularly if consistently found on repeated testing over weeks – may indicate the presence of a disease called cystic fibrosis.