Why this test?
The lipase test (often along with the amylase test, another pancreatic enzyme) is used to diagnose acute or chronic pancreatitis and other diseases affecting the pancreas.
In what cases is it prescribed?
This testing is carried out when there are signs of pancreatic pathology: intense pain in the abdomen and back ("girdle pain"), fever, loss of appetite, vomiting.
A lipase test may be ordered to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, as well as to find out whether lipase activity is increased or decreased in diseases of the pancreas.
Lipase is one of several enzymes that are produced in the pancreas and are part of pancreatic juice. Amylase breaks down carbohydrates, proteases break down proteins, and lipase breaks down fats. From the pancreas, pancreatic juice containing lipase enters the duodenum through the pancreatic duct, where it helps digest food.
Normally, only a small amount of lipase circulates in the bloodstream (due to the natural renewal of pancreatic cells). When there is damage to the pancreas, as in pancreatitis, or the pancreatic duct is blocked by a stone or tumor, lipase begins to enter the bloodstream in large amounts and then into the urine.