Pancreatic Diseases

Pancreatic Diseases Lab Tests and health information

Abnormal levels of amylase may indicate pancreatitis or another problem with your pancreas. Order an amylase serum test to measure the amount of amylase in your blood. Order from Ulta Lab Tests and learn about your health today.


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Increased serum CEA levels have been detected in persons with primary colorectal cancer and in patients with other malignancies involving the gastrointestinal tract, breast, lung, ovarian, prostatic, liver and pancreatic cancers. Elevated serum CEA levels have also been detected in patients with nonmalignant disease, especially patients who are older or who are smokers. CEA levels are not useful in screening the general population for undetected cancers. However, CEA levels provide important information about patient prognosis, recurrence of tumors after surgical removal, and effectiveness of therapy.

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A large percentage of patients with gastrointestinal tumors (such as pancreatic, liver, gastric, colorectal tumors) and some other malignancies have been shown to have elevated serum CA 19-9 levels. Serum CA 19-9 levels may be useful for monitoring disease activity or predicting relapse following treatment. CA 19-9 should not be used as a screening test.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel


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Confirmatory evidence for diagnosis of pancreatitis

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The major sources of amylase are the pancreas and the salivary glands. The most common cause of elevation of serum amylase is inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). In acute pancreatitis, serum amylase begins to rise within 6-24 hours, remains elevated for a few days and returns to normal in 3-7 days. Other causes of elevated serum amylase are inflammation of salivary glands (mumps), biliary tract disease and bowel obstruction. Elevated serum amylase can also be seen with drugs (e.g., morphine) which constrict the pancreatic duct sphincter preventing excretion of amylase into the intestine.

In pancreatitis, urine levels of amylase reflect serum changes by a time lag of 6 - 10 hours.

Not available in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. 



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C-Peptide is useful in the evaluation of pancreatic beta cell function and for determining the source of insulin in patients with hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia.

C-Peptide is useful in distinguishing insulin-secreting tumors, i.e., insulinomas, from exogenous insulin administration. C-Peptide concentrations are severely depressed or absent in Type 1 diabetes mellitus. C-Peptide is also useful in monitoring patients who have received islet cell or pancreatic transplants. It is also measured as an additional means for evaluating glucose tolerance and glibenclamide-glucose tests.

C-Peptide is useful in distinguishing insulin-secreting tumors, i.e., insulinomas, from exogenous insulin administration. C-Peptide concentrations are severely depressed or absent in Type 1 diabetes mellitus. C-Peptide is also useful in monitoring patients who have received islet cell or pancreatic transplants. It is also measured as an additional means for evaluating glucose tolerance and glibenclamide-glucose tests.

C-Peptide is useful in distinguishing insulin-secreting tumors, i.e., insulinomas, from exogenous insulin administration. C-Peptide concentrations are severely depressed or absent in Type 1 diabetes mellitus. C-Peptide is also useful in monitoring patients who have received islet cell or pancreatic transplants. It is also measured as an additional means for evaluating glucose tolerance and glibenclamide-glucose tests.

C-Peptide is useful in distinguishing insulin-secreting tumors, i.e., insulinomas, from exogenous insulin administration. C-Peptide concentrations are severely depressed or absent in Type 1 diabetes mellitus. C-Peptide is also useful in monitoring patients who have received islet cell or pancreatic transplants. It is also measured as an additional means for evaluating glucose tolerance and glibenclamide-glucose tests.

C-Peptide is useful in distinguishing insulin-secreting tumors, i.e., insulinomas, from exogenous insulin administration. C-Peptide concentrations are severely depressed or absent in Type 1 diabetes mellitus. C-Peptide is also useful in monitoring patients who have received islet cell or pancreatic transplants. It is also measured as an additional means for evaluating glucose tolerance and glibenclamide-glucose tests.

Peptide is useful in distinguishing insulin-secreting tumors, i.e., insulinomas, from exogenous insulin administration. C-Peptide concentrations are severely depressed or absent in Type 1 diabetes mellitus. C-Peptide is also useful in monitoring patients who have received islet cell or pancreatic transplants. It is also measured as an additional means for evaluating glucose tolerance and glibenclamide-glucose tests.

C-peptide is useful in distinguishing insulin-secreting tumors, i.e. , insulinomas, from exogenous insulin administration. C-peptide concentrations are severely depressed or absent in Type 1 diabetes mellitus. C-peptide is also useful in monitoring patients who have received islet cell or pancreatic transplants. It is also measured as an additional means for evaluating glucose tolerance and glibenclamide-glucose tests.

Increased CRP levels are found in inflammatory conditions including: bacterial infection, rheumatic fever, active arthritis, myocardial infarction, malignancies and in the post-operative state. This test cannot detect the relatively small elevations of CRP that are associated with increased cardiovascular risk.

C3a desArg is a cleavage product of C3 complement component activation. Elevated levels of C3a have been reported in patients with acute lyme disease, acute pancreatitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and adult respiratory distress syndrome.


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Serum calcium is involved in the regulation of neuromuscular and enzyme activity, bone metabolism and blood coagulation. Calcium blood levels are controlled by a complex interaction of parathyroid hormone, vitamin D, calcitonin and adrenal cortical steroids. Calcium measurements are useful in the diagnosis of parathyroid disease, some bone disorders and chronic renal disease. A low level of calcium may result in tetany.

Cardio IQ® Insulin Resistance Panel with Score

Includes

  • Insulin, Intact, LC/MS/MS
  • C-Peptide, LC/MS/MS
  • Insulin Resistance Score

Patient Preparation

  • Overnight fasting is required

Clinical Significance

The determination of insulin in serum is primarily used for the diagnosis of glycemic disorders in diabetic and pre-diabetic patients in the assessment of insulin resistant syndromes. Insulin is synthesized by the pancreatic beta cell as a precursor, proinsulin. Proinsulin is processed to insulin and C-peptide, a contiguous peptide between the insulin A and B chains, as it passes through the cell. The C-peptide in the proinsulin ensures correct folding and processing of proinsulin as it passes through the cell. Both insulin and C-peptide are released together from the beta cells in response to increased glucose levels. Because of differences in half-life and hepatic clearance, peripheral blood levels of C-peptide and insulin are no longer equimolar but remain highly correlated. A steady-state plasma glucose test in individuals undergoing an insulin suppression test to assess insulin resistance found that the combination of insulin and C-peptide was a better indicator of insulin resistance than either one individually.

 

 



Chromogranin A, LC/MS/MS - Chromogranin-A (CgA) is an acidic glycoprotein expressed in the secretory granules of most normal and neoplastic neuroendocrine (NE) cell types, where it is released together with peptide hormones and biogenic amines. Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are a form of cancer that differ from other neoplasia in that they synthesize, store, and secrete peptides, e.g., CgA and amines. CgA is secreted from neuroendocrine-derived tumors including foregut, midgut and hindgut gastrointestinal NETs, pheochromocytomas, neuroblastomas, medullary thyroid carcinomas, some pituitary tumors, functioning and non-functioning pancreatic NETs.
Significantly elevated CgA levels have been found in patients with other diseases, such as impaired renal function, untreated benign essential hypertension, gastritis, prostatic carcinoma, and hyperparathyroidism. The best-characterized circulating biomarker that identifies NETs in general is CgA. Monitoring blood CgA levels may effectively provide information that is helpful in delineating tumor burden and rate of tumor growth, predicting tumor response to therapy and providing some indication as to prognosis.


A Complete Blood Count (CBC) Panel is used as a screening test for various disease states including anemia, leukemia, and inflammatory processes.

A CBC blood test includes the following biomarkers: WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, Platelet count, Neutrophils, Lymphs, Monocytes, Eos, Basos, Neutrophils (Absolute), Lymphs (Absolute), Monocytes(Absolute), Eos (Absolute), Basos (Absolute), Immature Granulocytes, Immature Grans (Abs)

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported.

Reflex Parameters for Manual Slide Review
  Less than  Greater Than 
WBC  1.5 x 10^3  30.0 x 10^3 
Hemoglobin  7.0 g/dL  19.0 g/dL 
Hematocrit  None  75%
Platelet  100 x 10^3  800 x 10^3 
MCV  70 fL  115 fL 
MCH  22 pg  37 pg 
MCHC  29 g/dL  36.5 g/dL 
RBC  None  8.00 x 10^6 
RDW  None  21.5
Relative Neutrophil %  1% or ABNC <500  None 
Relative Lymphocyte %  1% 70%
Relative Monocyte %  None  25%
Eosinophil  None  35%
Basophil  None  3.50%
     
Platelet  <75 with no flags,
>100 and <130 with platelet clump flag present,
>1000 
Instrument Flags Variant lymphs, blasts,
immature neutrophils,  nRBC’s, abnormal platelets,
giant platelets, potential interference
     
The automated differential averages 6000+ cells. If none of the above parameters are met, the results are released without manual review.
CBC Reflex Pathway

Step 1 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes:

  • Confirmation of differential percentages
  • WBC and platelet estimates, when needed
  • Full review of RBC morphology
  • Comments for toxic changes, RBC inclusions, abnormal lymphs, and other
  • significant findings
  • If the differential percentages agree with the automated counts and no abnormal cells are seen, the automated differential is reported with appropriate comments

Step 2 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes: If any of the following are seen on the slide review, Laboratory staff will perform a manual differential:

  • Immature, abnormal, or toxic cells
  • nRBC’s
  • Disagreement with automated differential
  • Atypical/abnormal RBC morphology
  • Any RBC inclusions

Step 3 If any of the following are seen on the manual differential, a Pathologist will review the slide:

  • WBC<1,500 with abnormal cells noted
  • Blasts/immature cells, hairy cell lymphs, or megakaryocytes
  • New abnormal lymphocytes or monocytes
  • Variant or atypical lymphs >15%
  • Blood parasites
  • RBC morphology with 3+ spherocytes, RBC inclusions, suspect Hgb-C,
  • crystals, Pappenheimer bodies or bizarre morphology
  • nRBC’s

Clinical Significance

The glucagon assay is useful primarily when considering a glucagon-secreting tumor of the pancreas. Glucagonomas cause an unusual but characteristic syndrome consisting of a rash, mild diabetes, weight loss and hypoamninoacidemia. Measurement of plasma glucagon confirms the diagnosis; glucagon levels are very high in the setting of glucagonoma.


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Serum glucose levels may be abnormally high (hyperglycemia) or abnormally low (hypoglycemia). Glucose measurements are used in the diagnosis and treatment of carbohydrate metabolic disorders including diabetes mellitus, idiopathic hypoglycemia, and pancreatic islet cell neoplasm.

Plasma glucose levels may be abnormally high (hyperglycemia) or abnormally low (hypoglycemia). Glucose measurements are used in the diagnosis and treatment of carbohydrate metabolic disorders including diabetes mellitus, idiopathic hypoglycemia, and pancreatic islet cell neoplasm.


Every year in the United States, about 275,000 people are admitted to the hospital for acute pancreatitis. 

Acute pancreatitis is a severe form of pancreatic disease, and an amylase serum test is an important tool for diagnosing pancreatic problems.

If you leave pancreatic disease left untreated, it can lead to serious long-term health complications.

If you're looking to learn more about amylase serum testing and common pancreatic diseases, then keep reading this guide to find out everything you need to know.

What is Pancreatic Disease

Pancreatitis is Either Chronic or Acute

Acute pancreatitis means that the inflammation will develop fast and then subside within days or weeks. The pancreas will return to a state of normality once it heals. The primary cause is long-term alcohol abuse and gallstones. When acute pancreatitis becomes more frequent, it can result in chronic pancreatitis.  

Chronic pancreatitis involves inflammation that is long-lasting. It can also lead to scar tissue development inside this gland which stops it from working correctly. Long-term alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of the condition known as chronic pancreatitis. There is also an increased risk of contracting this condition for those who smoke cigarettes.  

Pancreatic Insufficiency 
This is a condition whereby the pancreas cannot transport or/and produce a sufficient amount of digestive enzymes to break down the food that enters the intestine. This is also a condition that goes by the name of EPI (or Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency)  
EPI usually occurs from progressive or ongoing pancreatic damage caused by several types of conditions. It is commonly linked to cystic fibrosis that occurs in children and chronic pancreatitis in adults. It is not usually caused by pancreatic cancer.  
One of the most common disorders of the pancreas that cause pancreatic disease is pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is when your pancreas becomes inflamed and painful.

Your pancreas is one busy organ, and it's responsible for producing digestive enzymes. These enzymes also help the hormones that regulate your blood sugar.

Pancreatitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis comes on very suddenly and improves within a week after treatment begins. But some cases of acute pancreatitis are so severe they require a hospital stay. 

Severe and untreated cases of acute pancreatitis can lead to necrotizing pancreatitis, which refers to cell and tissue death in your pancreas. Immediate treatment is necessary.

Chronic pancreatitis is long-lasting and doesn't heal or improve like acute pancreatitis. Instead, chronic pancreatitis worsens over time and causes permanent pancreatic damage in many cases.

Other Types of Pancreatic Disease

A Pancreatic disease can also be inherited, called hereditary pancreatitis. This disease is characterized by frequent pancreatitis attacks early in life, most often when you're under 30. Your family history and genetic testing can identify what pancreatic conditions you may be at risk for.

Another type of pancreatic disease is Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). EPI develops when you become deficient in the pancreatic enzymes necessary for digestion. This deficiency becomes so severe that you become severely malnourished.

Causes of EPI include pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis, narrowing of the pancreatic duct, and diabetes.  

Pancreatic Cancer

Over 60,000 people in the US are diagnosed every year with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer begins growing in the tissue of your pancreas, and the most common type is pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Pancreatic cancer is rarely detected in its early stages, as it usually doesn't cause symptoms until after it's spread to your other organs. Although doctors have yet to identify a clear cause, DNA mutations play a crucial role in pancreatic cancer. 

Other risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, obesity, chronic inflammation of the pancreas, and being over 65.

Causes of Pancreatitis

When you have pancreatitis, your digestive enzymes are activated while still in your pancreas. This activation irritates the cells in your pancreas, causing pain and inflammation.

Gallstones are the leading cause of acute pancreatitis. Other pancreatitis causes include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Infection
  • Obesity
  • High levels of calcium
  • High levels of triglycerides
  • Abdominal injury
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Infections from food poisoning such as Salmonella
  • Hepatitis B

However, there are cases where the cause of pancreatitis can't be found. 

Risk factors for Pancreatitis

Lifestyle and genetics are the most significant risk factors for developing pancreatitis. You can cut your chances of developing pancreatitis in half if you reduce alcohol consumption and quit smoking cigarettes. 

Obesity is the next most significant risk factor. Losing weight and exercising daily can keep pancreatitis at bay. 

Genetics play a role too. If you have family members with chronic pancreatitis, your chances are also greater. Men also have a greater chance than women of getting pancreatitis. 

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of pancreatitis depend on if you have acute or chronic pancreatitis. With acute pancreatitis, you'll find symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Fast heart rate
  • Upper abdominal pain that goes around to your pack
  • Pain that's worse after you eat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tenderness to your abdomen

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include weight loss, abdominal pain, and oily, smelly stools. See your doctor right away if you have ongoing abdominal pain that doesn't stop. Seek emergency treatment if your pain is so severe you can't get comfortable.

Repeated bouts of acute pancreatitis can lead to chronic pancreatitis, scar tissue formation, loss of pancreatic function, and serious medical complications. 

Complications of Pancreatic Disease

Pancreatitis can become severe and cause serious and even fatal complications like:

  • Severe pancreatic infections
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Malnutrition
  • Bleeding in your pancreas
  • Obstruction of your pancreatic duct
  • Severe damage to your pancreas
  • Death

Pancreatitis also may create chemical changes in your body that affect how well your lungs function. Some people with pancreatitis have low oxygen levels.

When you have frequent episodes of pancreatitis and long-term inflammation, you increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer in the future.

Treatments of Pancreatic Diseases

Treatment for pancreatitis depends on how serious it is. Treatment includes pain medication, bowel rest (not eating for a day or two), and plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration for mild acute pancreatitis.

With severe acute pancreatitis, you typically need to be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids, antibiotics, nutrition, and even surgery. People with severe pancreatitis are at the most risk for organ failure and shock.

Diagnosis of Pancreatic Diseases

Your doctor will first perform a physical exam and ask detailed questions about your health history to diagnose pancreatic disease.

After your assessment, your doctor will want to order further diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out pancreatitis.

Imaging tests include a chest X-ray to check your heart and lungs and an ultrasound to examine your pancreas, gallbladder, and other organs.

Your doctor will often order an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a procedure that uses a long tube to visualize and diagnose liver, gallbladder, and pancreas problems.  

Next, your doctor will order blood tests such as amylase and lipase to evaluate how your pancreas functions.

Lab Tests

The enzyme amylase helps you to digest carbohydrates. Amylase is often elevated in pancreatic diseases, such as pancreatitis.

Acute pancreatitis is a severe form of pancreatic disease, and an amylase serum lab test is a fantastic tool for diagnosing pancreatic problems. Elevated amylase levels reaching three times the normal limit is an excellent indicator of acute pancreatitis. 

An amylase serum test is also helpful in monitoring the cell damage in chronic pancreatitis. 

Lipase is another pancreatic disease test that is often used to help confirm a diagnosis of pancreatitis. Lipase is an enzyme that helps digest fats. Your lipase levels will rise within 8 hours after pancreatitis symptoms start. 

Your doctor will also likely order a complete blood counttriglyceride levels, and a comprehensive metabolic panel to assess your organs and overall health status.

Pancreatic Disease FAQS

Did you know the pancreas has four main parts? The head, neck, body, and tail make up your pancreas, and the pancreatic head attaches to your small intestine.

The venom from a bite of the Brazilian scorpion Tityus serrulatus can cause pancreatitis.

People knew all about the pancreas even in 300 BCE. The ancient Greeks identified the pancreas as a gland but didn't fully understand how it functioned.

Amylase Serum Test

Make the right choice for your amylase serum test. Choose Ulta Lab Tests for all your lab testing needs. Our tests are reliable and guarantee accurate results.

With Ulta Labs, you don't need insurance or a doctor's referral. We offer affordable pricing for all tests, including a doctor's order. 

Once you order your pancreatic disease test, you'll have secure and confidential results, usually within 24 to 48 hours.

Take charge with Ulta Lab Tests and start living a healthier tomorrow.