Creatinine is the waste product that forms in your body every time you use your muscles, such as from physical fitness or regular everyday activities. If you have healthy kidneys, your body will be able to remove the creatinine from your blood. However if during a routine blood test, there are abnormal levels of creatinine in your blood, it could indicate that your kidneys are not functioning as they should. For adult males, the normal creatinine levels are between 0.8 and 1.4 mg/dL while in adult females, they should be between 0.6 and 1.1 mg/dL.
Testing Creatinine Levels
Your current levels of creatinine are found through a standard blood test, which is usually part of a routine physical or check-up at your doctors. To find your estimates glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), your doctor will perform a blood test which compared your creatinine level to your age, sex and race and will help offer information about your current kidney function.
Obtaining Accurate Results
When you go for routine blood work and your creatinine levels end up being abnormal, there are certain conditions that might keep you from getting an accurate result. This includes children under 18 and adults over 70, anyone who is very muscular or obese, pregnant women, vegetarians, someone who is malnourished, and someone taking creatinine supplements for body building. If any of these are true for you, you should let your doctor know if your blood presents with abnormal amounts of creatinine. They may need to perform additional tests like another blood test, urine sample, a 24-hour urine test, MRI, ultrasound, or CT scan.
Why do Creatinine Levels Need to be Checked?
The reason blood tests check for creatinine levels is because they will show if your kidneys are performing normally. If your kidneys become repaired, damaged, or inactive, your blood test can give you advanced warning with a rise in creatinine levels. This will give your doctor a good reason to run other tests to find out what your current kidney function status is. If abnormal levels are found, doctors often continue with a creatinine clearance test which will find out how much creatinine is remaining in your blood and how much is being filtered out.
Causes of Abnormal Creatinine Levels
A variety of things can cause an abnormal level of creatinine in your blood. This includes chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and certain medications. Symptoms of kidney dysfunction include fatigue, swelling, shortness of breath, feeling dehydrated, and confusion. You may also experience a number of other nonspecific symptoms that can be true of many everyday or non-serious medical conditions.