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What Do High and Low Creatinine Levels Indicate?

What Do High and Low Creatinine Levels Indicate?

Creatinine is a waste substance created by your muscles during the breakdown of creatine. Your arteries carry the substance to your kidneys. The organ then flushes it out via urine. However, if your kidneys are not functioning properly, it might make it difficult to flush it out. This causes its accumulation in your blood. If left untreated, this can lead to high creatine levels and cause severe health conditions.

The abnormal levels can also be caused due to heavy workout routine, medications, or chemotherapy drugs. There are certain health conditions that can also cause abnormal levels of the substance. Your body cannot function properly if it has higher or lower levels of creatinine. Hence, it is important to undergo proper treatments to manage the creatinine levels.

creatinine levels

The level of the substance can be measured with the help of a urine test or blood test. For the urine test, your need to collect your urine for 24 hours. Your doctor may ask you to collect the urine in a container and store in a cool place. The urine is later sent to the lab for analysis.

While the blood test is similar to any blood test, wherein the healthcare professional will draw a blood sample from your arms. The test is also done as part of other routine medical tests. The test is also helpful to check the functioning of kidneys and diagnose kidney-related ailments.

Certain medications can cause kidney damage. If you are on medication for a longer time or if you take certain medications that can affect your kidney health, your doctor may recommend you do the test at regular intervals. If you have certain health conditions like diabetes or hypertension, your doctor may recommend you do the test once every few months.

Here’s what creatinine levels mean

The creatinine levels in your blood or urine are measured in milligrams per decilitre of blood i.e. mg/dL. The normal range may vary depending on various factors including age and gender.

Usually, 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL for women and 0.8 to 1.3 mg/dL for men is considered the normal range. The levels are higher in people who are muscular.

High creatinine levels

It is an indication that your kidneys are not functioning properly. High levels are mostly caused by damage to kidneys that makes it difficult to flush out creatinine from your blood.

Issues in your kidneys like a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate can make it difficult for the urine to pass freely. This accumulation of urine can cause difficulty in the proper functioning of the kidneys that may further lead to an elevated level of creatinine.

Other causes include dehydration, excess consumption of protein and strenuous workout. Certain medications might also elevate the levels of creatinine.

If you have high creatinine levels due to any kidney injury or ailment, it is important to treat the underlying cause. The high levels may not go down unless the underlying cause is treated.

If you have high creatinine levels due to dehydration or excessive consumption of protein, you may not need to worry. In such cases, no treatment is required. All you need to do is understand the cause of the condition and work on it.

For instance, if dehydration is the cause, make sure you consume an adequate amount of fluid. Your doctor may help you with the right amount of fluid for you taking into consideration numerous factors. Some of the factors include your physical health, medical conditions you have, medications you take etc.

Dehydration: Applying First Aid

Low creatinine levels

Excess weight loss can lead to muscle loss. This further causes low levels of creatinine.

During pregnancy, there is an increase in the blood circulation to the kidneys. This further causes excess production of urine, leading to excess elimination of creatinine through urine.

Make note that the range of elevated or low levels of may also vary based on the labs. It is advised that you must always get the results checked by a doctor and understand the results in detail. If your test results indicate abnormal levels, your doctor may recommend you few more tests and appropriate treatments.

Elevated levels of creatine caused by kidney issues must be treated immediately. The elevated levels may not come to normal unless the kidney issue is treated. While the levels will be low in individuals receiving dialysis.

Ways to lower creatinine levels

Your doctor may recommend appropriate treatments and lifestyle measures to keep your creatinine levels under control.

There are simple home remedies and lifestyle measures you may consider to lower creatinine levels. Some of them include:

Monitor your protein intake

There are certain foods we consume on a regular basis that may influence the creatinine levels. It is also observed that individuals who consume red meat or food rich in protein may have high levels of creatinine. If you are on dialysis, you may need to increase your protein intake. You may talk to your doctor or nutritionist to know the right amount of protein you may consume.

Avoid strenuous workout

A workout session is important for your health. But strenuous workout session may increase the levels of creatinine. It occurs because muscle metabolism results in the production of creatinine. Strenuous workout sessions may cause excessive use of muscles, resulting in high levels of creatinine. You may take professional help and know the right type of exercise for you.

Stay hydrated

Make sure you consume enough amount of fluid. Low levels of fluid in the body can cause a spike in the creatinine levels. Individuals with kidney ailments must monitor the amount of fluid consume in a day. It is advised to talk to your doctor and understand the amount of water you need to consume in a day.

Things you need to know

  • Women tend to have low levels of creatinine as compared to men.
  • Consumption of excess protein or meat may temporarily increase its levels.
  • Pregnant women may have low creatinine levels.
  • Certain medications may influence their levels. Make sure you share the list of medications you take. If your doctor suspects any of the medication you take influences your creatinine levels, he/she may change the dosage or prescribe alternate medications.

Learn more about kidney diseases here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Apr 05, 2021
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel