Acid phosphatase is essentially a type of enzyme hat is used to free any attached phosphate groups from other molecules during the digestive process of the body. Different versions of the enzyme are found in the different organs of the body and the acid phosphatase serum levels are generally used as a diagnostic to detect disease in corresponding organs. Normal levels of acid phosphatase serum are recorded at between 0 to 0.8 units per liter. Anything above this could be a prominent indicator for a number of conditions such as infection, anemia, prostatitis (the inflammation of the prostate gland) hyperparathyroidism, Gaucher disease and kidney diseases like end stage renal disease.
The male prostate gland contains about 100 times ore acid phosphatase serum than any other tissue in the human body. Whenever prostate cancer spreads to the other parts of the body, especially if the condition spreads to the bone, the acid phosphatase levels rise dramatically. Other tissues in the body such as the liver, kidney, red blood cells and platelets contain smaller amounts of acid phosphatase serum and some damage to any of them will trigger an increase in phosphatase levels. It is essential to remember that this test cannot be used as a screening test for prostate cancer because the serum acid phosphatase levels will rise only once the cancer has manifested.
Acid phosphatase tests are performed to identify the exact tissue that is emitting the higher levels of the serum. Acid phosphatase test are also conducted during investigations of rape because of the fact that the serum is very concentrated in semen.
Preparation for an acid phosphatase test means that the patient should not undergo any kind of prostate massage or rectal exam for about two or three days prior to the test. Also make it a point to consult your doctor on whether any other preparatory steps need to be carried out.
The acid phosphatase test procedure includes the drawing of some amount of blood from a vein in your hands. The individual is likely to experience some amount of dizziness or fainting just after the withdrawal of blood and some pressure may need to be applied to the puncture site in order to reduce the amount of bleeding. The application of a warm pack over the area will help relieve any discomfort.