Normal Creatinine levels

There are a number of tests that are conducted to reveal vital information about the kidneys and the creatinine test is one of them.

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The metabolism of the muscles results in the production of a chemical waste product called creatinine. Additionally, the consumption of meat also leads to the production of creatinine, albeit in smaller amounts.

Creatine, which is one of the important molecules for the production of energy in the muscles, is responsible for the manufacture of creatinine. On a daily basis, generally two percent of the creatine present in the body is converted into creatinine. The muscle mass in the body usually remains constant on a day to day basis and hence the blood creatinine levels mostly remain unchanged.

Creatinine travels through the bloodstream to the kidneys. The healthy kidneys filter out creatinine along with other waste products from the blood. These filtered wastes are eliminated from the body in the form of urine.

In case the kidneys have abnormalities, then it generally tends to result in increased levels of creatinine accumulation in the blood. A serum creatinine test determines the levels of creatinine in the blood and assists in the estimation of the filter properties of the kidneys. In medical terms it is referred to as the glomerular filtration rate. On the other hand, a creatinine urine test evaluates the levels of creatinine in the urine.

The uses and need for creatinine level testing

A blood-creatinine level test is used to determine the normal functioning of the kidneys.

Any form of kidney abnormality can result in poor filtration of the waste products including creatinine from the body leading to excess deposition of creatinine in the blood. Therefore, a high level of creatinine in the body is a fair indicator of kidney impairment.

Most of the standard blood tests routinely check for creatinine levels. A specific test known as the creatinine clearance test is to determine kidney functionality which measures the amount of creatinine that is cleared by the kidneys from the body.

The need and frequency of blood- creatinine test depends on the presence of underlying medical conditions that increase the vulnerability to kidney damage.

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  • For patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a creatinine test is suggested at least once a year
  • Any underlying kidney diseases may require creatinine tests at regular intervals as suggested by the doctor
  • Intake of prescription medications or underlying medical conditions that may result in impairment of the kidney functions require creatinine tests at intervals as recommended by a doctor.

Normal creatinine levels

  • In adult males, the normal levels of creatinine in the blood are in the range of 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dl
  • In adult females, the normal levels of creatinine in the blood are in the range of 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dl
  • Depending on the level of muscle development, the normal creatinine levels in infants are 0.2mg/dl or more
  • Individuals with a single kidney may have normal creatinine levels of about 1.8mg/dl or 1.9 mg/dl
  • A creatinine level of 2.0 mg/dl or more in babies, and 10.0 mg/dl or more in adults indicates severe kidney abnormality that requires a dialysis machine for elimination of wastes.

In the above measurements ‘mg’ stands for milligrams and ‘dl’ stands for deciliter.

  • It is also important to note that athletic and muscular individuals who are young or middle-aged may have greater than normal levels of creatinine in their blood, whereas older individuals may have less than the normal levels. In addition, people with chronic illnesses, malnutrition and extreme weight loss tend to have a lower muscle mass which may result in lower than normal creatinine levels.

Symptoms of abnormal creatinine levels

Most individuals with kidney abnormalities and abnormal creatinine levels do not show any symptoms. Others may show symptoms that vary widely. Some of the signs and symptoms of elevated levels of creatinine are listed below:

  • Increased feelings of dehydration
  • Tiredness or fatigue,
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath and other non-specific signs

Causes of abnormal creatinine levels

  • Most cases of elevated levels of creatinine in the blood are caused due to some condition that results in the impairment of the kidney functions.
  • All instances of kidney dysfunctions such as kidney failure, kidney stones, etc. have to be diagnosed and the process has to be validated as being recent or longstanding.
  • Most diseases that are chronic such as hypertension and diabetes can lead to kidney abnormalities.
  • Consumption of increased amounts of meat as well as creatine supplements can also lead to a temporary rise in the creatinine levels.
  • Intake of certain types of drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,  blood pressure drugs, etc may lead to elevated levels of creatinine in the blood

Expectation and results of creatinine level tests

In case a creatinine blood test produces abnormal results, further tests such as urine creatinine test and a creatinine clearance test may be needed for confirmation.

Any kidney damage will need treatment and medications as prescribed by the doctor. The blood pressure also needs to be maintained in such cases. Most treatment methods are aimed at preventing further impairment of the kidney functions.

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