What are High Creatinine Levels?

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  • Written By: Pamela Pleasant
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2019
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High creatinine levels indicate that the kidneys may not be functioning properly. Creatinine levels are measured by collecting urine and taking blood samples for testing. Creatine is formed when food is eaten and then metabolized. The creatine then breaks down again, changing into creatinine. It is taken out of the bloodstream and passes out of the body in urine.

General good health, physical activities, and a healthy diet cannot reduce the chances of having high creatinine levels. These levels depend entirely on how the kidneys are functioning. For example, if the kidneys are damaged, more creatinine will be seen in the blood and less in the urine. If the kidneys are functioning normally, the creatinine will be typically seen mainly in the urine. Muscle tissue can also help to produce more creatinine in the bloodstream and because of this, men's creatinine levels are often higher than those ofwomen.

Doctors measuring creatinine levels for several reasons. These tests can be used to monitor certain kidney diseases and to make sure the medications for those conditions are working properly. High creatinine levels also can indicate how severe kidney diseases are. Dehydration can also cause an increase in creatinine and a physician may use the test to determine if a patient is indeed dehydrated.


Kidney damage can be a result of many medical problems, some of which can be life threatening. Infections, cancer, and being in a state of shock can all cause high creatinine levels. Other less severe conditions that elevate creatinine include kidney stones, muscle conditions, or gout.

Creatinine tests consist of examining the blood and urine over a 24 hour tipme period. The level of creatinine is determined by the amount of blood that is cleared of the substance every minute. Test results can be affected by a person's size and creatinine levels can naturally go down as a person ages.

Low creatinine levels can indicate a problem with the liver and they can also be a result of aging. Muscle mass is reduced, lowering creatinine levels. Low creatinine levels might also help in the diagnosis of certain diseases, like muscular dystrophy. Pregnancy and a low-protein diet can also lower creatinine levels. Low creatinine levels can also become fatal when they are related to heart disease or cirrhosis of the liver.


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If you are anyone you care about has ever been diagnosed with high creatinine levels, it is important to follow up with your doctor to try to get a diagnosis for the cause of this potentially dangerous condition. It is also a good idea to have your levels of creatinine checked periodically even when your levels go back to normal, just to be sure that they stay within the normal range.

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