A blood test is not just a definition of your group and Rh factor. The biochemical examination of this vital fluid also includes the identification of a series of important enzymes.
One of them is alpha-amylase, also known as “diastasis”.
By identifying the level of a given substance, a whole range of medical pathologies can be eliminated. So, what is this enzyme and why does it need to pass the analysis for the diastase?
What is amylase?
Alpha-amylase is one of the main pancreatic enzymes. This organ secretes it through the excretory ducts inside the duodenum, where the substance performs its basic functions.
Exocrine pancreatic cells are involved in the synthesis of amylase. The level of enzyme in the blood of doctors can judge the effectiveness of the body.
Normally, the main part of the amylase enters only the lumen of the small intestine. Only a small amount of the enzyme is detected in the blood.
The diastase plays the role of a catalyst that triggers the breakdown of carbohydrate compounds in the intestine. Complex carbohydrates, which enter the duodenum, are subject to enzymatic activity, breaking down into glucose.
In this form, carbohydrates are available for the production of energy in the cells of the body.
Without alpha-amylase, the body will not absorb food with carbohydrates in sufficient quantities.
This phenomenon is called malabsorption and leads to weight loss, poor health, heaviness in the abdomen and problems with the intestines.
In some cases, there is an increase in the level of this substance in the bloodstream, which causes various disorders in tissues throughout the body due to the strong enzymatic activity of amylase.
Why is an alpha-amylase test prescribed?
The level of amylase in the blood plasma is an indicator by which you can judge if the patient has inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, hepatitis and others.
The analysis of amylase is assigned, in the first place, to people who have a clinical picture of pancreatic dysfunction. In acute and chronic pancreatitis, this study must necessarily be performed.
The determination of the level of diastase in blood is carried out on an empty stomach.
When the biochemical analysis should refrain from the use of fatty and spicy foods the day before the blood donation.
These foods can affect the secretion of pancreatic enzymes and lead to false results.
Indicator rates in children and adults.
The normal level of amylase is not related to sex, and for all people, this indicator varies from 20 to 125 U / L. Only in children younger than 2 years the minimum level of this enzyme can be 5 U / l.
The pancreas is a very complex organ that simultaneously secretes hormones and digestive enzymes. Therefore, it is called a gland of a mixed type of secretion.
The biochemical analysis of the blood shows the level of two interrelated indicators: total and pancreatic amylase. The number of the latter is determined to identify the exact location of the pathology in case of its presence.
Amylase is also secreted by the salivary glands, therefore, to identify problems with the pancreas, it is necessary to divide these indicators. Taking each of them separately, you can also judge violations in the salivary glands, ovaries and bronchi.
The standards for this enzyme for men, women and children are listed in this table:
Very often there is no direct relationship between the growth rates and the severity of pancreatitis. This is a consequence of the rapid death of the secretory cells, because the enzyme can be produced in a normal amount.
Over time, more and more pancreatic cells die, so amylase returns to normal.
Chronic pancreatitis. Amylasemia (an increase in the amount of diastase in the blood) may be a manifestation of a chronic inflammatory process in the gland. Most of the time there is a moderate increase in performance.
Pancreatic dysfunctions are often caused by alcohol abuse, eating disorders and viral infections.
If the biochemistry did not reveal significant irregularities in the diastase level, this is not a 100% confirmation of the absence of pancreatic pathology. If the patient has symptoms characteristic of the pathologies of this organ, the doctor can prescribe additional tests.
Identifying chronic pancreatitis is quite difficult.
In this case, the following studies may be useful:
- General blood test
- Ultrasound of the pancreas
- X-ray of the abdominal organs.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.
Why amylase below normal?
Reduced alpha-amylase levels occur less frequently. This occurs when severe pancreatic diseases are neglected.
The most common causes of a significant reduction in the diastase number are:
- Pancreatonecrosis – Destruction of part of the pancreas as a result of the influence of alcohol, fatty foods, diseases of the biliary tract. With a slight spread of necrosis, the normal level of amylase is maintained by increasing the activity of whole cells. As soon as most of the organ dies, the amount of diastase decreases, even due to the depletion of the cells that still work.
- Pancreatic cancer. Death of the gland as a consequence of the spread of malignant metastases.
- Pancreatic resection. This operation is performed in the case of cysts in the organ, its cancerous transformation, necrosis.
- Cystic fibrosis – Genetic due to the disease, manifested by a violation of the secretory function of the exocrine glands. Interrupted activity not only of the pancreas, but also of the glands of the respiratory system.
Video: Pancreatic iron and liver.