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High amylase levels
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High amylase levels

After suffering with abdominal discomfort and pain below my ribcage for the last 2-3 weeks, I went to the doctor and he ordered a blood test to check liver and pancreas enzyme levels.  His nurse called  to tell me they had scheduled me for a CT scan tomorrow because my amylase levels were high (132).  Of course, this scared the heck out of me.  (BTW, liver was fine.)  IS this level considered "high" and what could have caused this?  I have been using progesterone cream, containing several herbs (i.e., **** quai, saw palmetto, cramp bark) for the last 2 months for menopausal symptoms.  Could there be something in that which would affect my pancreas and amylase levels?  I am a non-smoker, don't drink, not overweight, and take vitamin & mineral supplements.  (I also notice some bloating/swelling? in this upper abdominal area as well...and sometimes feel a snapping sensation.)  Any ideas that could put my mind at rest?
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6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I am sorry I don't have an answer for you but I am wondering what the amylase are. Are they the same as liver enzymes?
Thanks,
Michelle
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Avatar_n_tn
I've pasted below a description of amylase levels and what high readings usually indicate.  These high levels, in combination with your other symptoms, could indicate some pancreatic problems.  Your doctor is wisely prescribing a CT-scan to further investigate the cause.  You should know more about what is wrong after the scans are read.

Amylase Results

Normal values vary widely from lab to lab.

Normal Amylase

Blood sample:
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Nanna ! I have a question concerning amylase reference values: I have been tested three times (in Norway). According to my labresults I scored:

S-amylase panchreas [20 - 100 U/L] my value 89,6
P-amylase [70 - 300 U/L] my value 124
S-amylase [ ? - ? U/L] my value 120

Every time I have been told that this was within the normal
range and thus no problem.

According to (US standards ?)I belive these values are
significantly higher than what would indicate a problem.

I have been searching the WEB for some explanation, but
I am still confused. Do you have any comments please
add some !

Thank You in advance for any answer on this and for all
Your good working in this forum !

Best regards Arne




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Avatar_n_tn
I think amylase is considered significant if it is more than 3x's the upper limit of normal

Arne,  I think (don't quote me) the S and P stand for serum and plasma.  this just indicates whether the test was done from serum or plasma

blood tests are reported in measured units depending on the type of test done.  different tests have different units.  to further complicate things, units can be reported in either Conventional units (CU) or Standardized International (SI).  and there isn't a one-to-one correlation between the two different types of units.  you have to compare the units that your results were reported in to the correct normal range.  I think everyone outside the united states uses SI units.  a lot of the big US labs will too.  but a lot of the US labs still use CU.  normal ranges vary depending on things like which lab is doing the test, the amount of time the blood sample sat around, what equipment is used, etc, etc.  

a ballpark normal range in CU for serum amylase is 56-190 IU/L

a ballpark normal range in SI for serum amylase is 25-125 U/L

so, in your case, regardless of the units used for your test results, you are well within normal limits.  

aspirin, oral contraceptives, narcotics and prednisone can all increase your amylase levels.  amylase isn't specific for pancreatic problems.  like Nanny said, increased amylase levels can also indicate bowel problems, inflammation of the gallbladder, ectopic pregnancy or even the mumps.
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Avatar_n_tn
You sound very knowledgable about these things...are you a medical professional or self trained like a lot of us???   I feel somewhat better reading what you said, that amylase levels can be elevated because of oral contraceptives.  Although that's not what I'm using, I'm using natural progesterone cream, it of course affects the hormone balance as well.  Would you also suspect the herbal ingredients in the cream such as **** Quai?  I had my CT scan yesterday but won't know those results for a few days.  This has been very upsetting for me and my family.  Do you also think that 132 is not that high of an elevation?  Thanks for your input.
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Avatar_n_tn
just self-taught like the rest :)  

I don't know what affect ****-quai or 'natural' progesterone would have on amylase levels.  make sure you tell your doc you are taking these.  **** quai can interact with blood thinners since it is a vasodilator.  have you done a trial run without the supplements to see if your amylase levels change?  I can't really say whether your result is significant or not.  if you are having supplements compounded for you, please make sure to find out exactly what they use and assess for quality control.  

it sounds like your doc is actively seeking a resolution of your problems.  try to hang in there and see what the ctscan report indicates.
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Avatar_f_tn
My friend has systemic lupus and just recently her amylase enzyme went up to 235. Since that blood draw, it went to 221 then back up to 225.  She has abdominal swelling and abdominal pain at times. Within the past 3(+/-) months she has had 3 episodes of bowel infarction (impaction). She had an abdominal ultrasound sound performed in which they found nothing of significance.  She is scheduled next month to meet up with a GI specialist. I will keep posted as to what is found so If this sounds like someone, maybe this can help.
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