Lipase test

Lipase Test: Overview

A lipase test is a blood test that measures a fat-digesting enzyme called lipase that’s released from the pancreas. Lipase breaks down fats into glycerol and free fatty acids that can be used by the body. When the pancreas becomes injured or inflamed, it doesn’t release as much lipase into the bloodstream.

Why Is the Lipase Test Performed?

The lipase test is mainly used to check for the presence of pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. The lipase test is usually ordered along with other tests to diagnose cancer, cystic fibrosis, hyperlipidemia, and other diseases of the pancreas.

Preparation for Lipase Test

Most people don’t need special preparation for a lipase test. However, your doctor may suggest that you temporarily stop taking certain drugs that may interfere with your test results. For example, antibiotics, drugs used for ulcers, and some drugs used to treat depression and bipolar disorder can affect lipase test results.

The Procedure for Lipase Test

The lipase test is performed using a simple blood sample. Here’s what to expect:

  • Your doctor or a lab technician will collect a sample of your blood by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm.
  • The sample will be collected in a tube that will be sent to a laboratory for testing. Your doctor will evaluate your test results and make a diagnosis based on what they find.

Types of Lipase Tests

There are two types of lipase tests that may be ordered.

  • Fasting lipase test: Fasting lipase test is done in the morning after an 8-10 hour fast.
  • Random lipase test: Random lipase test is done anytime of the day, it does not require fasting.

Risks of the Lipase Test

The lipase test is a safe procedure and complications are rare. You may feel a pinch when the needle is inserted, but other than that the procedure is painless. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a bleeding disorder or if you’re taking any medications, as these can interfere with your test results.

When Is the Lipase Test Recommended?

Your doctor may recommend a lipase test if you experience symptoms of pancreatitis, such as severe abdominal pain. Your doctor may also order a lipase test if you’re at risk of having a problem with your pancreas. People with diabetes, obesity, cystic fibrosis, or high triglycerides may be tested for pancreatic function with a lipase test.

Interpreting Lipase Test Results

The normal range for lipase test results is 10-60 U/L (units per liter) of blood. If your results are higher than this, it could indicate pancreatic disease, such as acute or chronic pancreatitis. Lower than normal lipase levels may indicate other problems, such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and Sjögren’s syndrome.