You may have noticed that you regularly take a blood test for creatinine when you go to the doctor for your yearly physical. But have you ever wondered why your doctor is emphasizing this routine blood test for creatinine? And when to worry about creatinine levels? Hop into this blog to find out.
What is Creatinine?
Creatinine is a waste substance that the body releases through urine. The greatest source of creatinine is typical muscular deterioration or wear and tear. Only the kidneys are capable of excreting it from the body. The breakdown of creatine phosphate from the metabolism of proteins and muscles results in creatinine.
Why is the Creatinine Level Test performed?
It’s not uncommon to measure creatinine levels within 24 hours. You’ll be required to gather all of your pee during that time and present it to your physician. The lab will measure the amount of creatinine in your urine, and the levels in your blood will be contrasted. This demonstrates to your doctor the amount of waste being eliminated from your body as well as the health of your kidneys. Your care team may occasionally require speedier responses. It is ineffective to wait an entire day to collect urine if you have acute renal failure.
Additionally, most doctors don’t want to subject you to the discomfort of collecting urine for a full day. At that point, doctors estimate your creatinine clearance using a straightforward blood test and a calculation. Your kidney doctor can check if your kidneys are working fine with the Creatinine Level Test.
What are Normal, High, and Low Creatinine Levels?
Normal blood creatinine levels vary by age, race, gender, hydration levels, and body size. Because women have lower muscle mass and a lower creatinine synthesis and excretion rate, their serum creatinine ranges are lower. Depending on muscle development, the normal ranges for serum creatinine in adults are 0.8-1.3 mg/dL in men, 0.8-1.1 mg/dL in women, and 0.2 mg/dL or greater in infants.
Relationship between Creatinine and Kidney Function
Kidneys are bean-shaped organs present in the abdomen. Believe it or not, you cannot survive without your kidneys. This is because kidneys perform many functions, such as removing toxins and waste products, maintaining acid-base and electrolyte balance, activating vitamin D, producing erythropoietin hormone, and controlling blood pressure and water balance.
Because blood creatinine levels start to rise when kidney function is compromised, creatinine is a good indicator of renal function. The creatinine in your blood can increase if your kidneys aren’t functioning properly. Even though high creatinine levels are usually not hazardous on their own, they can be a sign of various medical disorders, such as chronic renal disease.
Creatinine Clues –
Creatinine levels don’t provide the full picture by themselves. They are combined with a variety of additional laboratory findings, such as:
Glomerular Filtration Rate –
The estimated amount of blood that filters through the glomeruli each minute is known as the glomerular filtration rate. Your serum creatinine blood test findings will determine your eGFR, which will also consider your age, weight, body size, ethnicity, and gender. What might be a typical creatinine for a 20-year-old individual might be different or not as concerning in an 80-year-old person.
Blood urea nitrogen –
This test determines how much urea nitrogen, a by-product of protein breakdown, is present in the blood. Healthy kidneys eliminate the waste of protein. A high-protein diet, dehydration, and some drugs can all impact blood urea nitrogen, which is an indirect indicator of renal function.
Therefore, to gain a general sense of how the kidneys function, doctors combine the creatinine results, glomerular filtration rate, and blood urea nitrogen tests. Creatinine levels over time may provide a more precise indicator of total renal function.
What Causes High Creatinine Levels?
A kidney infection, glomerulonephritis (inflammation of nephrons), kidney stones, and kidney failure are the potential causes of this dysfunction. Creatinine levels can briefly rise above average due to several additional circumstances, such as dehydration, eating a lot of protein, and strenuous physical activity. Some medications can harm the kidneys or temporarily raise serum creatinine levels. Increased creatinine levels result from renal damage caused by certain medical disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
What are the Symptoms of High Creatinine levels?
High creatine levels are more of a sign of a potential health issue than a concern in and of itself. Urinary and fluid retention problems are frequently a symptom of kidney disease. In that case, You may experience a wide range of symptoms, including nausea, chest discomfort, muscle cramps, vomiting, exhaustion, changes in urination frequency and appearance, high blood pressure, edema or fluid retention, and itchiness if renal problems bring on your creatinine level increase.
So if you will ask “When to worry about creatinine levels”, the simplest answer is to monitor your severe symptoms.
When should I worry about creatinine levels?
You have no idea what your creatinine levels are: If you are suffering from diabetes, hypertension, obesity, or cardiovascular diseases or have a family history of kidney failure, get your creatinine levels checked regularly.
- When creatinine levels are above normal for a long time: A creatinine level over normal for more than three months indicates the presence of chronic kidney disease. Unfortunately, CKD is ignored until it is too late in the early stages since creatinine levels are not noticeably abnormal. The progression of this illness might take months, years, or even decades. As a result, regular follow-up visits with a nephrologist are required, ideally every three months.
- When creatinine levels are rapidly increasing: In such a situation, it is important to see a nephrologist because significant decisions regarding therapy must be made. It may require a thorough study, including urine and blood testing, ultrasound imaging, kidney biopsy, etc. Additionally, dialysis may be required, if only temporarily.
- When creatinine levels are very high: Kidney function declines as creatinine increases. When creatinine levels rise in a patient, the likelihood of dialysis rises. However, the creatinine level alone cannot predict when dialysis will be necessary.
Creatinine levels of 2.0 or higher in newborns and 5.0 or higher in adults may signal significant kidney damage. Dehydrated people may have abnormal or increased creatinine levels.
Tips to Lower your High Creatinine Levels –
It is crucial to take action to safeguard the health of your kidneys. The following are some recommendations:
- Discuss all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking with your doctor
- Openly discuss your creatinine levels with your nephrologist
- Reduce the intensity of your physical activity
- Avoid creatine supplements
- Make dietary adjustments
- Maintain a fit lifestyle
Excess creatinine levels might signify major medical problems, but they can be a transitory side effect of certain lifestyle variables or illnesses.
If your creatinine levels are found to be high, modifications in your exercise level, eating, drinking, and supplementing habits may help lower them. You should also consult a kidney doctor if you have high creatinine levels.