Is an Elevation of Pancreatic Enzymes Dangerous?

Elevated pancreatic enzymes such as amylase and lipase can indicate pancreatitis, a serious inflammation of the pancreas that causes these enzymes to be significantly higher than normal, according to Chemocare. Lipase levels may increase when tumors of the pancreas are present.

If pancreatitis is present, these enzymes are activated while still in the pancreas causing inflammation. It can cause symptoms such as upper abdominal pain that radiates to the back, nausea, vomiting and tenderness when the abdomen is touched, says the Mayo Clinic.

Pancreatitis can result in serious complications, such as bacterial infection and breathing problems where the levels of oxygen in the blood fall dangerously low, as the Mayo Clinic indicates. Chronic pancreatitis damages the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and predipsoses a person to diabetes. Kidney failure and pancreatic cancer are also risk factors associated with acute pancreatitis.