PSA or Prostate Specific Antigen refers to an amino acid chain which is produced by the cells located in the prostate gland. The PSA is released in the blood and is often used as a biological marker to detect diseases affecting the prostate gland. Under normal conditions the levels of PSA in the blood are low and high level of PSA in blood can be indicative of some type of prostate disease.
Elevated levels of PSA in the blood are often associated with malignant and benign tumors of the prostate gland. Elevated levels of PSA are often observed in older men, though recurrent infections and inflammation of the prostate glands in younger adults can also be associated with elevated levels of PSA in the blood.It should be noted that elevated levels of PSA in no way is an indication of prostate cancer, but only suggestive of a prostate problem.
What Are The Causes Of Elevated PSA?
The prostate specific antigen is often used as a biological marker or a tumor marker for detecting prostate cancer. However elevated levels of PSA are not indicative of prostate cancer and additional investigations are required for further diagnosis.
There are several factors that may be responsible for elevated levels of PSA in the blood,
- Benign Enlargement of the Prostate or BPH is a condition which affects older men. It is not a precancerous condition and is frequently observed among elderly patients.
- Prostatitis refers to inflammation of the prostate tissue due to an infection or can be attributed to any other cause. In most cases, prostatitis is acute in nature and is treated effectively with antibiotics.
- Individuals undergoing a prostate biopsy may result in an elevation of PSA levels in the body. The biopsy can result in elevation of PSA level in the body for several weeks.
- Evidence has shown that even ejaculation of semen is associated with mild to moderate increase in the PSA levels. Hence sexual activity should be restrained for a few days prior to having a PSA blood test.
- Other causes of elevated PSA levels include Digital rectal examination and bicycle riding.
Symptoms Of High PSA Levels
Though in most cases elevated levels of PSA are incidental findings following a rectal examination, PSA tests are often recommended in individuals complaining of the following symptoms,
- Dribbling of urine with a poor stream of urine flow.
- Increased urgency with desire to urinate frequently.
- Straining while urinating.
- Blood in urine.
- Recurrent urinary tract infections with painful micturation; and burning while urinating.
- Constipation which may often be observed when the enlarged prostate gland presses on the rectum.
Most of the above symptoms are associated with an enlargement of prostate or prostatitis, which are the common causes associated with elevated levels of PSA in blood. Trauma to the prostate gland may also result in increase in the PSA levels.
Treatment For Elevated PSA Levels
Treatment of elevated PSA depends upon the underlying cause. The standard treatment regimen comprises of use of antibiotics for the management of infection and use of chemotherapy drugs to manage prostatic enlargement.
There are certain effective homeopathic remedies that have been found to be beneficial in the management of prostate gland enlargement.
Calcarea Carb is a homeopathic remedy which is beneficial in the management of enlarged glands. Calcarea taken in low potency about twice a day is considered beneficial in the management of the condition.
Other important homeopathic drugs include Baryta Carb and Bryonia, which are equally efficient in the management of enlarged prostate.
Normal PSA Levels In Blood By Age
- It is quite normal for men to have low level of PSA in the blood; though, prostate cancer or benign enlargement of the gland may increase the PSA level in the blood. With age, benign prostate disorders as well as prostate cancer are very common. The most frequently seen disease is BEP or BHP or benign enlargement of the prostate.
- Age related PSA values take in to account that a 40 year old male should not have the same PSA value similar to an 80 year old male.
- Acknowledged age related PSA rates are less than 2.4 ng/ml, for men, under 50 years, and below 6.5 ng/ml for men in their 70s.
- Other limits have also been defined for different age brackets; however, there isn’t a collective conformity about the correctness of the age related PSA levels.
- A person’s PSA level in the blood does not give the doctor sufficient data to differentiate between benign prostate disorders and cancer. Nevertheless, the physician takes the result of the PSA test in to account, when determining further investigations and evaluations to verify the signs of prostate cancer.
- The FDA has permitted the use of the PSA test, along with a digital rectal exam to identify cancer of the prostate in men 50 years and above. Often, doctors use the PSA test and DRE (digital rectal examination) as prostate cancer screening tests.
- PSA results are reported as ng/mL. In the past, health care practitioners regarded PSA below 4.0 ng/mL as normal. However, there have been instances when prostate cancer has been diagnosed in 15 % of men with PSA level at or below 4.0 ng/mL.
- Clinical trials also show that men having the PSA value at 4.1 and 9.9 ng/mL and had a prostate done, were found to have prostate cancer.
- Hence, there is no precise normal or abnormal level of PSA. What’s more, several factors, like, inflammation of the prostate can affect the PSA level and cause it to oscillate.
- Also, PSA values vary from laboratory to laboratory. Therefore, one abnormal PSA test does not inevitably mean that it is a sign of prostate biopsy. However, by and large, the higher a man’s PSA level, the higher is the likelihood of the occurrence of cancer.
- Moreover, when a man’s PSA level continues to elevate over a period of time, other tests need to be carried out.
- Doctors and health care practitioners recommended all men 40 years and above to get themselves regularly screened for prostate diseases.