Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. Its concentration is very high within the cells of the prostate, but a small amount passes into the blood. It is what is measured through the blood test. When there is damage to these cells, the amount of PSA in the blood will be higher. Its concentration in the blood can help to diagnose prostate cancer or to monitor the disease, however high levels of PSA in the blood do not always have to determine prostate cancer. There are other factors that can cause high levels, such as some prostate disease or even age. In this FastlyHealarticle we explain how this protein works and what are the normal values of PSA in the blood .
What does a PSA test look like
The PSA test is performed using blood tests and the results are given in nanograms of PSA per milliliter of blood (ng / ml). When a man has prostate symptoms, he is most likely to be asked for a PSA test. Some PSA levels higher can indicate many pathologies, not only prostate cancer . Also, some of them are benign.
Before this blood test, some indications are required that the doctor himself will tell you. You should not ejaculate for at least 48 hours before taking the PSA test, as it could result in an antigen surge that would actually be false.
In addition, the doctor should know all the medications you are taking, as there are certain drugs that can lower the levels, which would be considered as false low PSA levels .
Normal blood PSA values
First of all, it must be said that there are no normal or abnormal PSA values as such. It is not a specific test to diagnose cancer, however it is true that the higher the concentration, the more likely it will be. After the blood test, a prostate biopsy will likely be required to confirm or rule out the presence of cancer.
Although there is no normal valuation, there are some standard values. Thus, the standard reference value in healthy men is up to 4ng / ml of free PSA in blood .
When the levels are between 4 and 10 it is considered to be somewhat high and, therefore, it is necessary to do new tests or follow-up to see what it is. There will be a 20% chance of prostate cancer, but as we have said it does not have to mean this only. When the levels are above a PSA of 10, a very high value , then there is a greater risk of suffering from it.
Although the standard value is considered at 4ng / ml, there are some indications to take into account according to the age range :
- In men under 50 years of age, normal PSA is considered when it is less than 2.5 ng / ml.
- In men between 50 and 59 years of age, normal PSA should be less than 3.5 ng / ml.
- Between 60 and 69 years the level of this protein should be less than 4.5 ng / ml.
- Between 70 and 79 years the normal PSA will be less than 6.5 ng / ml.
However, as we have been saying, there is no exact value and therefore it will also be up to each doctor to interpret these values. There are those who may indicate a prostate biopsy when the level is higher than 2.5ng / ml or there are those who wait until 4ng / ml. The doctor will also take into account other factors such as age, use of drugs, etc.
What if I have high blood PSA levels
A high concentration of PSA can be caused by several factors . For instance:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia: An enlarged prostate can increase PSA levels.
- Age: As the years go by, it is normal for PSA levels to rise, even if you do not have any condition.
- Prostatitis or inflamed prostate: that is, an inflammation or infection of the prostate gland.
- Ejaculation: Ejaculation can increase PSA levels temporarily, so it is recommended not to do so during the 48 hours before the PSA test.
- Vigorous Exercise – Exercising a lot can also cause a temporary PSA spike.
- Some urological procedures: for example, a biopsy or cystoscopy can increase PSA for a short period of time.
- Some medications: such as male hormones such as testosterone.
When PSA levels are high, the doctor is likely to either repeat the test (this is not usually the case) or perform some other test, for example a biopsy to confirm or rule out prostate cancer. Other tests may include a digital rectal exam (digital rectal exam).
There are also some causes that can cause low PSA levels (even when a man has prostate cancer) that could be mistaken for false low levels in the blood test. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the condition, health and medications that the man takes before the examination. Some things that can cause PSA levels to drop (even when the man has cancer and these values should be high) include the following:
- Medicines to treat benign hyperplasia or urinary symptoms, such as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.
- Some herbs, as certain herbal mixtures taken as a dietary supplement could lower the levels and therefore not see reliable results. For this reason, it is important to inform your doctor.
- That the man is obese. Overweight men normally show low PSA levels.
- Take aspirin regularly, as this drug has been shown to lower antigen levels and is even higher in non-smoking men.
- Statins, which are drugs used to lower cholesterol levels.
- Thiazide diuretics, which are pills used to treat high blood pressure. Taking it for years can result in low levels of PSA.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Normal values of PSA in blood , we recommend that you enter our category of Male reproductive system .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.