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Jonathan Fay, M.D.
Jonathan Fay, M.D., Doctor (MD)
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Experience:  Physician health consultant
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What are the causes of elevated pancreatic enzymes

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Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Jonathan Fay, M.D. replied 10 years ago.
I'm sorry to hear about your friend's daughter - hopefully she will have a speedy recovery.

There are a number of potential causes of elevated pancreatic enzymes, and in reality, there are two enzymes measured commonly in this regard: lipase and amylase.

As far as amylase elevations as concerned, the most obvious cause, perhaps, is injury to the pancreas itself. This can be caused by pancreatitis, a cyst within the pancreas (called a "pseudocyst"), and other types of injury to the pancreas (from trauma, for instance). Gall stones within the bile duct can also cause an elevation of these enzymes.

Other causes of amylase elevation can include injury or disease of the kidneys (the kidneys normally clear this enzyme from the body), injury or disease of the GI tract (intestinal obstruction, appendicitis, a perforation in the bowel, etc.), or other causes - there are a variety here, which can include pneumonia, malignancy, certain medications, and gynecologic issues (fallopian cysts or inflammation, etc.).

So there are many potential causes of amylase elevations.

Lipase can also be elevated from pancreatic injury, injury to the bowel, kidney disease, or even inflammation of the peritoneum.

Ulcers can cause an elevation in these enzymes as well.

I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if you need any further help; I'm more than happy to assist. Take care - Dr. Fay
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