Creatinine – What is it? | Kidney Disease, Blood Test, Precautions

If you are a patient of high blood pressure or diabetes, then you definitely have a regular check-up for kidney stones. By the way, even doctors recommend a creatinine test, at least once a year for such patients.

However, creatinine tests are not only for the high Bp or diabetic patients but also for any individuals who have any prior kidney stone problems. This is because one of the major factors of kidney stones is creatinine.

Therefore, in this post, we are going to discover all the facts related to creatinine, mechanism of formation of kidney stones from creatinine, various tests for it, and especially how you can stay away from kidney stones by creatinine, and much more.

So, board with us on a journey of knowing the creatinine in detail.

What is Creatinine?

What is Creatinine?

It is a non-protein nitrogenous waste product from muscles. Medically, it is the by-product of the creatine— which originally comes from muscles. And the body’s filter machine— kidney, absorbs all of it from the blood and then flush-out through urine.

In general, creatinine is present in serum, plasma, and also in the urine. So, based on this, its levels can be identified from both blood and urine.

As stated earlier, under normal conditions, your kidneys filter creatinine from your blood. And then it leaves the body through urine at a constant rate. Therefore, for the normal functioning body, it harshly causes any damage.

However, if a person has higher muscle mass, or he was on steroids, then there is a higher chance of getting creatinine stones.

Did you know? Men have higher creatinine levels than women, due to their greater muscle mass. In short, the normal levels of creatinine depend on your age, race, gender, and body size.

Basic Chemical Details

  • Chemical formula‎: ‎C4H7N3O
  • Molar mass: 113.12 g/mo
  • The solubility of Creatinine in water: 90 mg/ml at 20°C
  • Density: 1.09 g/cm3

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How Creatinine leads to Kidney Stones?

How Creatinine leads to Kidney Stones?

 As we know, kidneys flush the toxins in the form of urine which have small molecules of calcium, oxalate, citrate, and thousands of other unwanted materials.

The mechanism of forming a kidney stone starts with muscle contractions.

When a person starts exercising, muscles start releasing a compound—creatine. Creatine then forms creatine phosphate which releases Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). After that, this energy is used for further muscle contraction, which again releases creatine. This cycle goes on and on until muscles start paining.

All this process generates creatinine through non-enzymatic reaction which is also irreversible in nature. So, during exercise, there is a large amount of creatinine in the blood. And from here, the process of filtration of creatinine from the blood is taking place.

Therefore, with the passage of time, the accumulation of creatinine starts inside the kidney itself. And when these accumulations co-joins to form larger molecules then it is the case of kidney stone.

What are Normal Creatinine Levels?

What are Normal Creatinine Levels?

Kidney balance the blood’s creatinine level to a healthy range. The following are the normal creatinine level for blood and urine.

Normal Creatinine Blood Levels

For the records, the normal level of creatinine in males’ blood ranges from 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams (mg)/ deciliter (dL). While for women, the range is 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL.

On the other hand, a child’s age lower than age 3 should have ranged between 0.3 to 0.7 mg/dL and for 3 to 17 years teenager, the range would be 0.5 to 1.0 mg/dL.

Normal Creatinine Urine Levels

For an adult male, the value ranges from 955 to 2,936 mg, and for females, the value should be between 601 to 1,689 mg. But at least four samples are taken within 24 hrs for the urine test.

What Creatinine levels Indicates? (Test)

The creatinine levels itself is a marker for the accurate measure of renal activity. In addition, the elevated level of it indicates impaired kidney function or kidney disease.

 Therefore, a clinical test is a must-do thing to measure creatinine’s level in the body.

Various Clinical Creatinine Tests

Various Clinical Creatinine Tests

There are several tests for testing creatinine’s elevated levels. But majorly, there are three tests that can detect it in the blood (or urine).

So, with the help of these tests, you can measure the changes in the function of the kidney.

A. Serum Test

With the use of blood serum, the very accurate value of creatinine can be estimated which also indicates the proper functioning of kidneys.

The value of serum creatinine varies from person to person but the standard value serves quite well in this scenario. However, based on body type, the final result also requires the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). You can easily determine its value by using the GFR Calculator.

Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) measures the kidney functions. It provides an overview of how much blood flows through the glomeruli every minute.

In the case of GFR ranges from 60 to 120, it represents that kidney functions normally. A GFR range from 15 to 60 means metabolic wastes are not filtering properly by the renal tubules of kidneys which is also an indication of kidney disease.

Whereas GFR below 15 considers being the complete kidney failure. However, some times only creatinine’s serum test is not enough to state a kidney disease. That’s why urine test is also performed.

B. Urine Test

 For more accuracy in kidney disease, doctors usually also call for urine tests other than the serum test.

In an adult male can produce normally 150 μmol/kg/24hrs to 200 μmol/kg/24h of it. While females can produce approximately 100 μmo/wkg/24 hrs to 150 μmol/kg/24 hrs.

Creatinine’s concentration is tested by the use of urine drug tests. If the person has an average concentration of it, it suggests kidney functions normally.

On the other hand, higher levels suggest either urine has contaminated blood or has a low level of baseline-creatinine. However, the urine drug test is not employed for low creatinine levels because serum test does better than the urine test.

C. Creatinine Clearance (Ccr or CrCl) Test

It generally measures how much creatinine is flushed out from the body, or how well kidneys filter toxins. Creatinine Clearance Test requires a combination of a urine test and a blood test.

In this, the urine is collected over a period of the 24-hour. The urine sample typically takes place after taking the serum blood sample and the final result in terms of GFR.

And that makes it one of the best ways to test the kidney disease or any kidney-related issues.

Symptoms & Causes of Abnormal Creatinine Levels

Symptoms & Causes of Abnormal Levels

Causes (Symptoms) Related to Low-Creatinine Levels

There are several problems related to low-creatinine which are given below:

1. Muscle Disease: Muscle disease such as muscular dystrophy. Symptoms include muscle weakness, muscle stiffness and pain, and decreased mobility.

2. Liver Disease: Low functioning of the liver can cause low creatinine. The symptoms related to liver disease are jaundice, abdominal pain, and swelling.

 3. Excessive Water Loss: Excessive water loss can cause a low level of it in blood. 

Since creatinine produces only when muscle collapsed. This means people having low muscle mass have a low level of creatine wastes. It doesn’t mean that there’s a serious medical problem for those people.

Causes Related to High-Creatinine Levels

The following is the list of symptoms that the body shows when there is a high-creatinine level.

1. Intense Exercise: As we know creatine is present in the muscles and helping them to generate energy. By doing vigorous exercise, it increases its levels in the body.

2. Certain Medications: Several times many antibiotics, such as trimethoprim and cimetidine, may cause a temporary increase in serum creatinine levels.

3. Increased Consumption of Protein: Creatinine is also affected by what the person is consuming. So, if you eat certain foods that are rich in proteins then for sure, it is not good for your kidneys.

4. Kidney Obstruction: A higher level of creatinine can cause a burden on the filtration system. That may cause swelling in the kidney. In addition, prolonged high-creatinine levels can build-up to form the stone. This all leads to kidney obstruction which in medical terms called hydronephrosis.

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How to Minimize Creatinine’s Level in the Body?

How to Minimize Creatinine's Level in the Body?

To minimize the creatinine’s level in the body, the following things should be done to keep your kidney healthy:

1. Eating a balanced diet along with regular exercise is the best way to deal with this kidney disease.

2. Food choices affect the health of the kidney. Therefore, eat fresh fruit that is rich in vitamins and minerals, instead of eating processed foods.

3. Try to eat a low-salt diet. It is advised that one should eat, not more than 200 mg of salt per day.

4. In fact, a high protein diet can elevate a mild kidney disease to advance. For a healthy person, a high protein diet is safe. But, if you have any prior condition related to the kidney, you should avoid them at any cost.

5. Some studies proved that exercise improves kidney function. So, it is important to maintain healthy body weight.

However, it is possible that the above-listed dietary changes save you from creatinine related problems but also make your kidney healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

 How can I increase my GFR naturally?

Ans. Eating a balanced diet with regular exercise is a good way to get your GFR ranking higher. Therefore, eat a sufficient amount of healthy fruits and vegetables. And most importantly, follow a low-salt diet.

What is considered a bad creatinine level?

Ans. Any value less than (or more) 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dL is considered a bad creatinine level. However, this value for a female would be 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL.

What can affect GFR levels?

Ans. Conditions like diabetes, recurring urinary tract infections, hypertension, heart disease, and difficulty in urination can affect the GFR levels.

What is the best test to check kidney functionality?

Ans. The Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) is the best indicator for measuring kidney function. 60-120 indicates a healthy kidney, 15-60 indicates kidney disease, and less than 15 means kidney failure.

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