Lipase is an enzyme that the pancreas releases into the small intestine. This substance helps the digestive system break down fat molecules into fatty acids. Doctors may have patients take a lipase blood test to help them diagnose pancreas disorders.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a health care provider uses a needle and collection tube to take a sample of blood from a patient’s vein and test the sample for lipase.
Patients with normal lipase blood test results may have between 0 and 160 units of lipase per liter of blood. Low lipase levels are often considered normal because lipase can appear in the blood due to a damaged pancreas.
Familial Lipoprotein Lipase Deficiency
People with no lipase in their blood may have familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency, a rare genetic disorder that causes colic in infants as well as nausea and pain in the muscles, bones and abdomen. This disorder also causes very high triglyceride levels in the blood, swollen spleen or liver and repeated cases of pancreatitis.
Lipase Deficiency Treatment
Doctors may recommend that patients with familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency eat a very lowfat diet and take fat soluble vitamins D, E and K.
Individuals with high blood levels of lipase may have viral gastroenteritis or a stomach blockage or ulcer. Pancreas disorders such as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and cholecystitis can result in high levels of lipase in a patient’s blood.