Pancreatic Elastase Stool Test
The Pancreatic Elastase Stool Test measures the amount of elastase in a stool sample to screen for pancreatic insufficiency.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Pancreatic Elastase Stool Test measures the amount of elastase in a stool sample to screen for pancreatic insufficiency. Elastase is an enzyme produced by a specific tissue in the pancreas, an organ located in the upper abdomen. After an individual eats fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, this enzyme helps the food metabolize, making it a vital part of the digestive process. Elastase will be expelled from the body in the stool for individuals with a healthy pancreas. However, if little or no elastase is found in the stool sample, this enzyme may not work as it should. This condition is called pancreatic insufficiency.
Pancreatic insufficiency can cause several health problems, including malabsorption and malnutrition, which affect an individual's ability to digest and absorb nutrients from food. Pancreatic insufficiency can also indicate severe health conditions like acute or chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis is another form of this disease that is short-term. However, chronic pancreatitis is a recurring condition that can worsen over time and permanently damage the pancreas.
When should I order a Pancreatic Elastase Stool Test?
Individuals may order this test if they have experienced symptoms related to pancreatic insufficiency. Common signs or symptoms of pancreatic insufficiency include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Smelly and greasy stools
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Sudden unexplained weight loss
- Developmental and growth delays in children
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