Normal Creatinine Levels, Low, High

What is creatinine?

If you want to know for sure if your kidneys are doing fine, then confirm that you have normal creatinine levels.  Creatinine is a chemical waste product from the contraction and relaxation of muscles. The creatine phosphate which is the major component for the muscles to be able to perform activities is converted into creatinine after it had been used by the muscles. The creatinine is brought to the kidneys for filtration and it would be excreted through the urine. The normal creatinine levels in the urine should be kept constant on a day-to-day to basis, since if there would be higher or lower creatinine output in the urine or an abnormal creatinine level in the blood, this would mean that there is something wrong going on inside the body,specifically in the kidneys.

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Tests for creatinine levels

The normal creatinine levels can be measured in two ways since the creatinine can be found in the blood and the urine. It is believed that the level of creatinine best measures the ability of the kidney to function properly as it does not depend on the person’s diet, unlike the Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test wherein too much protein intake may affect the result. The two diagnostic tests that can be used to find out the creatinine levels in the body are the Creatinine Clearance Test and the Serum Creatinine Test.

Serum Creatinine Test

This test uses blood as the specimen by extracting the blood sample from the person’s veins. The normal creatinine levels in the blood are 0.6 to 1.1 mg per dl for womenand 0.7 to 1.3 mg per dl for men. Women and men have differing normal creatinine levels in the blood since women have lesser muscle mass and bulk compared to men. Doctors usually use the serum creatinine test to keep track on how the kidneys are working. Sometimesthis test together with the BUN Test is performed to come up with a more accurate measureof the kidney function.If the normal creatinine levels have turned abnormal, the patient may have an underlying grave condition such as diabetes mellitus and kidney dysfunction.

Creatinine Clearance Test

The creatinine clearance is done by doing a 24-hour collection of urine. The 24-hour urine collection is prepared by discarding the first urine when the patient wakes up in the morning since this first urine produced by the patient may show a false positive result of higher or lower than normal creatinine levels. After the first batch, the following urine excretions will be put in sterile containers and will be immediately sent to the laboratory for examination. Every time the patient urinates, he or she will have to put urine sample in the sterile container provided.

The creatinine clearance test aims to measure the exact amounts of creatinine being excreted by the kidneys and find out if these fall within the normal creatinine levels. The test is also done to compare the creatinine levels in the blood and the urine. It is also used to know the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of the kidneys. The normal creatinine levels for the creatinine clearance test are between 88 and 128 ml per min for women and 97 to 137 ml per min for men.

There are several factors that can affect the level of creatinine; these include pregnancy and vigorous exercise since the muscles use up amounts of creatine phosphate more than the usual, resulting to an increased creatinine levels in the blood and urine. Taking medications such as trimethoprim, cephalosporin and cimetidine that can cause harm to the kidneys can likewise influence the result since the kidneys are responsible for the excretion of the creatinine. So when the kidneys are damaged, you can no longer expect to maintain normal creatinine levels. In the creatinine clearance test, a misstep in the collection of the urinesample, as well as an incomplete urine collection can really affect the result of the test.

Conditions associated with higher or lower than normal creatinine levels

If the tests yield abnormal creatinine levels, this could mean that the person may have glumerulonephritis or infection of the kidneys, obstruction of the kidneys, blood supply insufficiency in the kidneys, acute or chronic renal failure and end-stage renal disease. The patient may also be experiencing congestive heart failure that involves the kidneys.

Normal creatinine levels are good indicators that the kidneys are well and are functioning as they should. Once the levels of creatinine in the blood and in the urine have gone beyond the normal range, this is a sign that something is amiss with the kidneys and they are starting to perform poorly. The kidneys are very crucial in keeping the whole body in tip-top shape. Once the kidneys fail, other organs may be affected eventually.  Heeding the results of creatinine tests and addressing the problems promptly will help you keep your kidneys healthy.

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