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What are possible causes of elevated lipase?

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Quick Answer

Elevated lipase levels may be caused by a pancreas condition, gallbladder problems, peptic ulcer disease, cirrhosis of the liver or other conditions, according to WebMD. A doctor evaluates lipase test results allowing for the individual’s health, the specific lab and other factors.

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Elevated lipase levels may also occur as a result of drug or alcohol abuse, a salivary gland condition, intestinal problems or chronic kidney disease, according to WebMD. Factors that can affect the test results include medicines, pregnancy or taking an ERCP test before the lipase test.

Lipase is a pancreatic enzyme that helps break down fats for digestion, according to Chemocare.com. Though elevated lipase levels can be caused by numerous factors, lipase levels are most often tested to diagnose pancreatitis. Lipase levels are generally supposed to be between 12 and 70 U/L, but the standard level varies at different laboratories.

If the high lipase levels are due to pancreatitis, the individual may experience symptoms of diabetes, explains Chemocare.com. Diabetes symptoms are often temporary and include extreme fatigue, weight loss, excessive thirst and frequent urination. Pancreatitis symptoms can include sweating, weakness, nausea and pain that radiates from the middle of the chest to the back. Symptoms of an elevated lipase level are generally caused by the underlying condition rather than the high lipase level itself.

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