What Do High Creatinine Levels Mean?
Do not ignore your high creatinine levels, as they may be a warning sign of one of several underlying health conditions that require prompt medical attention. Chest pain and acute kidney failure are dangerous conditions that require immediate care as they may affect kidney performance that leads to other complications. Your creatinine levels can return to normal following treatment recommended by expert doctors who will determine the causes of elevated creatinine levels using the most advanced diagnostics tests. Schedule an appointment with top-rated nephrologists at the Century Medical and Dental Center to learn about taking care of your kidneys and avoiding any diseases or disorders that affect your renal and overall health in the long run.
What Is Creatinine?
Creatinine is a waste product that results from normal muscle function and is removed through the kidneys. It is a metabolite of creatinine phosphate, which the muscles use as an energy source.
The greater muscle mass you have, the higher creatinine levels you will have. Males have higher creatinine levels than females. In a healthy body, the kidneys filter creatinine from the blood and excrete it through the urine. The doctors can measure the amount of creatinine in your blood and urine to determine how well your kidneys are working. High levels of creatinine can result in kidney issues.
A serum creatinine blood test helps healthcare experts understand how well your kidneys are performing. Along with other factors such as age, weight, and medical history, they can determine if you are at risk of any medical condition.
What Are High Creatinine Levels?
Normal creatinine levels vary among different hospitals and laboratories. The usual reference range for serum creatinine is 60–110 micromoles per liter (mcmol/l), or 0.7–1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), for males and 45–90 mcmol/l (0.5–1.0 mg/dl) for females.
If creatinine is higher than these levels, doctors may consider it dangerous, depending on your muscle mass and related factors like age, sex and hydration levels.
Creatinine Level Test
Doctors usually take a blood sample of creatinine levels. They use a formula to estimate creatinine clearance.
In some cases, they ask the patient to collect their urine over 24 hours to get it tested at the laboratory. The urine test will determine the amount of creatinine in your urine and compare it with the amount of creatinine in your blood. It will help the doctor determine how much waste is being filtered out of the body and how well your kidneys are functioning.
In the case of acute kidney failure, a simple blood test is sufficient to check creatinine levels and estimate its clearance from the body. Increased creatinine levels indicate you need to focus on your kidney health. Permanent kidney damage is irreversible, but you can slow down the progression of further kidney damage with careful management that includes medication and lifestyle changes.
Creatinine and eGFR
Your doctor will also determine your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The glomerular filtration rate is a measurement of how well your kidneys are working to clean your blood. The doctor will calculate your eGFR using your serum creatinine blood test results and factors like your age, weight, body size, ethnicity, and gender.
If you are diagnosed with CKD, your eGFR indicates which of the 5 stages of CKD you are going through. It will play a significant role in providing the best treatment, depending on your symptoms. Your doctor will keep a check on your creatinine levels over time as many factors can affect these results, even in a short time. Long-term monitoring of creatinine levels can offer a more accurate measurement of your overall kidney function.
Causes of High Creatinine Levels
High creatinine levels mean the kidneys are not performing as well as they should. Possible causes of this dysfunction include:
- A kidney infection;
- Glomerulonephritis – inflammation of the kidney structures that filter the blood;
- Kidney stones that block the urinary tract;
- Kidney failure.
Other than kidney problems, there are other factors too that can temporarily increase creatinine levels more than the recommended ranges. They include dehydration and consuming a large amount of protein, either through foods or nutritional supplements. It has been observed that in some cases, a high-intensity workout also increases certain blood biomarkers such as creatinine.
What Are the Symptoms of High Creatinine Levels?
Creatinine levels are the indicator of a potential health problem. If your creatinine levels are going up due to kidney issues, you may experience kidney-related symptoms such as bladder and fluid retention issues.
However, if your kidneys are not working well enough to remove waste and toxins from your body, it may result in the following symptoms:
- Chest pain;
- Muscle cramps;
- Changes in urination frequency and appearance;
- Raised blood pressure;
- Swelling or fluid retention;
High Creatinine Levels – What Do They Mean?
If you have a kidney condition along with elevated creatinine levels, consult your primary care doctor to avoid facing any renal diseases or disorders in the long run.
Doctors recommend crucial tips to manage your increased creatinine levels. They include:
- Following a healthy lifestyle;
- Making healthy changes to your diet to avoid stress on your kidneys;
- Cutting back on strenuous exercise;
- Avoiding creatinine supplements;
- Consult your doctor before taking any medication, including over-the-counter ones.
To prevent kidney damage and serious complications, it is necessary to manage any other health conditions you are suffering from, such as high blood pressure or high blood sugar levels. If you are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, your doctor may recommend medications to ease your symptoms. If your tests indicate kidney failure, transplant and dialysis can help you live a better quality of life.
When to Seek Medical Help for Your High Creatinine Levels
If your lab tests show high creatinine levels, consult your primary care doctor to learn about the possible causes and precautionary measures. The doctor may ask for retesting of blood creatinine and recommend further tests to figure out your condition.
Quick and effective action is the only way to control your elevated creatinine and focus on your long-term wellness.
High Creatinine and Protein
If you are not on dialysis – If you are not on dialysis, avoid taking in too much protein in your diet. The body uses creatinine in muscle metabolism, and this creatinine becomes a waste product of that process. Protein fuels this process which means too much creatinine will create extra creatinine and waste.
If your kidneys are not working well, they may not be able to filter toxins and waste, and too much protein will add to their burden. Your doctor will guide you on how much protein you should include in your diet to stay healthy.
If you are on dialysis – If you are already on dialysis, your body may actually need more protein to keep up its strength. Dialysis removes amino acids, the building blocks of albumin, a protein that is essential for health. You may need to eat more protein to replace what you are losing in dialysis. Your doctor and a renal expert will recommend the right amount and types of foods and drinks and come up with a diet plan that will help to keep you in good health.
High levels of creatinine indicate that your kidneys are not working well. It is not a good sign, and you must get yourself further tested and checked by an expert doctor to understand what is happening. Symptoms consistent with conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, or heart disease should not be taken lightly, and you must consult an experienced and knowledgeable nephrologist to keep an eye on your rising creatinine levels. The top-rated specialist will work with you to evaluate your problems and determine the course of treatment that would work best for you.