Normal PSA levels are important markers that signify that the prostate is doing well. Any significant deviation of the PSA level from the normal range increases the probability of an individual of having prostate cancer; although there are other factors that may make the PSA level abnormal. The normal range of the PSA level may slightly differ from one person to another, and discussing these values with your doctor is the best way of determining the normal PSA level suitable for you.
Normal PSA levels can be found out through the PSA test. The test has been effectively used to detect prostate cancer during its early stages, the time when it is highly curable. It is also done to check how the prostate responds to the treatment, wherein normal levels indicate that the treatment is working.
What is PSA?
PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen, a protein excreted by the prostate gland which can be detected in the bloodstream of men, though most of which are found in the semen. Normal PSA levels are considered to be in small amounts and when they are found in high quantities, there is a likelihood that prostate cancer is developing or is already present. However, an elevated PSA level does not always point to prostate cancer because there are a number of factors that can also affect the level of PSA in the bloodstream. Prostate cancer can only be confirmed through biopsy.
What is the normal range of the PSA level?
The values for normal PSA levels may slightly differ between laboratories. However, the standard normal PSA level should not exceed 4 ng/mL. A PSA level between 4 ng/mL and 10 ng/mL indicates a 20% to 50% chance of developing prostate cancer. If the PSA level is beyond 10 ng/mL, there is a 50 to 75% chance of prostate cancer; while there is a greater chance that an individual already has prostate cancer if the PSA level is greater than 20 ng/mL.
It should also be noted that normal PSA levels also differ with age since PSA levels naturally increase with aging. A 5 ng/mL PSA level or below is considered normal for men over 70 years old. But generally, 4 ng/mL PSA is considered the standard value for men between 50 and 70 years of age.
How important is it to have PSA levels within the normal range?
PSA levels are essential markers of prostate health and finding them within the normal range is a strong indication that the prostate gland is in top form. Maintaining a normal PSA level is conducive not only for a healthy prostate but overall well-being. Monitoring the PSA level is essential for patients who recently had prostate surgery. These values help doctors monitor the condition of the prostate as well as determine whether the treatment procedure has been successful or not.
What do high or low PSA level mean ?
An abnormal PSA level is generally considered a warning signal of prostate problems. Although an abnormally high PSA level is a strong indication of prostate cancer, men with abnormally low PSA levels may also develop prostate cancer. There are several reasons why PSA levels can become abnormal apart from prostate cancer. Prostate cancer will only be diagnosed after a series of PSA test, DRE (direct rectal examination) and biopsy.
When do normal PSA levels become abnormal?
Normal PSA levels will become abnormal when:
- There is prostate cancer
- The prostate is enlarged or BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)
- The prostate is inflamed
- There is an infection in the prostate gland
- There is a urinary tract disorder
- Presence of a liver disease like viral hepatitis
- There is no ejaculation within two days before the PSA test
Statistics also show that African-American men are genetically predisposed to abnormal PSA levels, while certain medications and herbal supplements can also make normal PSA levels become abnormal.
What will happen to people whose PSA levels are abnormal?
Men with abnormal PSA levels will show different signs and symptoms, depending on the underlying cause. They may show signs and symptoms of prostatitis marked by high fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, general malaise and pain during urination and even ejaculation. They may also show signs of enlarged prostate such as urgency, frequent and incomplete urination as well as dribbling and urination difficulties. Or, they may exhibit symptoms of prostate cancer typified by blood in urine and semen, pain during ejaculation, difficulty in starting and holding urination as well as pain on the hips, pelvic areas, thighs and lower back.
Getting low or high PSA levels back to normal
Normal PSA levels can be achieved when the underlying cause of the abnormality is treated. Besides, getting it back and keeping it within the normal range basically involves eating and living healthy coupled with regular exercise.
Normal PSA levels are indications of a healthy prostate gland. Any departure from the standard values means that there is an existing prostate-related problem. Regaining normal PSA amounts in the blood requires that the underlying cause be addressed successfu