What Are the Causes of Elevated Creatinine Level?

You may have heard about elevated creatinine levels and wondered what this means. First of all, creatinine, a waste product of muscle activity, is found in the bloodstream. It ends in the kidneys where it is filtered out and excreted in urine. A routine blood test can help determine your creatinine level which reflects your metabolic health. In case you have a higher than normal creatinine level, it could indicate the presence of an underlying condition.

What Are the Causes of Elevated Creatinine Levels?

Kidney diseases or disorders can lead to high creatinine levels. Since the kidneys are the filters of wastes from the bloodstream, kidney damage means that there will be a buildup of creatinine beside other waste products in the body. Kidney conditions such as glomerulonephritis, acute tubular necrosis, kidney infection (pyelonephritis) and kidney failure can cause high creatinine levels. Reduced blood flow to the kidneys can also have a similar effect.

Other causes of elevated creatinine levels in blood include shock, dehydration, and congestive heart failure. These conditions lead to a reduction in blood flow to the kidneys, which interferes with their normal functions. High blood pressure, diabetic neuropathy, muscular dystrophy, rhabdomyolysis, eclampsia, and preeclampsia can also cause elevated serum creatinine.

In case a patient with renal dysfunction gets an infection like pneumonia, urinary tract infection, intestinal infection, or a cold, the creatinine level may rise within a short time.

Urine abnormalities such as long-term hematuria and proteinuria can also lead to high creatinine levels.

Taking drugs that have renal toxicity properties can also raise the levels of creatinine in the bloodstream. Such medications include chemotherapy drugs, ACE inhibitors, and NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen among others.

It has also been established that high creatinine levels can occur after eating large amounts of meat. Therefore, nutrition can also contribute to the state of serum creatinine level.

Other causes of elevated creatinine level include fatigue, inadequate rest, and strenuous exercise.

Symptoms of Elevated Creatinine Levels

Some people show no symptoms of high blood creatinine levels. However, signs such as the following indicate issues with kidneys’ function:

  • Low fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Depressed appetite
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Swollen face, including around the eyes
  • Swollen feet
  • Skin itch
  • Increased urge to urinate, especially at night
  • Reduced urine output
  • Dark urine
  • Edema
  • Breathlessness
  • Back or waist pain
  • Hypertension
  • Confusion or disorientation

Treating High Creatinine Levels

Treatment depends on the causes of elevated creatinine levels. In case of a kidney disorder, you may need to undergo hemodialysis to filter the blood and remove toxins and harmful waste products, including creatinine. Hemodialysis is a process in which blood is passed through a dialysis machine which filters it and then returns the filtered blood back into the body.

When elevated creatinine level is caused by a high protein diet, eating a low protein diet is advised. This will usually reduce the levels of creatinine in the bloodstream.

You can find more ways to lower creatinine level from here.

Normal Creatinine Levels You Should Aim For

Normal creatinine levels in blood fall within the range: 0.6 to 1.2 mg per dL for adult males and 0.5 to 1.1 mg per dL for adult females. For babies, older children, and teenagers, the creatinine level is determined by their muscular development. Infants normally have around 0.2 mg/dL, while children have about 0.3 to 0.7 mg/dL.

It is worth noting that muscular young and middle-aged male adults may have higher creatinine levels in their blood than is normal for most people. On the other hand, older people may have lower creatinine levels in their blood than is normal for the general population.

People who have malnutrition, long-term illnesses, or severe weight loss, are likely to have diminished muscle mass. This can lead to depleted creatinine level compared to the norm for their age.

People with single kidney can have a normal creatinine level of 1.8 or 1.9 mg/dL. Cases where creatinine levels reach 2.0 mg/dL or higher in babies, and 5.0mg/dL or higher for adults, can signify severe kidney issues. The decision to use a dialysis machine to help clean blood is a result of a number of considerations. These include the creatinine level, BUN (blood urea nitrogen), potassium level in blood, and the amount of fluid retained in the body.

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