Creatinine mainly comes from muscle metabolism and the meat products we have can also produce certain amount of creatinine. Healthy kidneys can filter creatinine from the blood and release it into urine.
When creatinine level in blood elevates and creatinine level in urine decreases, it means dysfunction of renal filtration system. In case of high creatinine (the normal creatinine level for adults is 0.5-1.2) especially if high creatinine can not be lowered after diet and exercise adjustment, it usually indicates renal damages and renal diseases, further tests and examinations are needed to make clear the diagnosis so as to seek early and proper treatments.
Creatinine itself is not harmful to the kidneys, but it reflects high level of metabolic wastes and toxins in the patient’s body due to declined renal functions. High serum creatinine level is a common sign of renal failure and it means that at least more than 50% kidney functions have been damaged. Damaged kidneys can not discharge creatinine and other wastes efficiently as they should, resulting in building up of creatinine in the bloodstream and high level of serum creatinine. Some patients can have no obvious discomforts while some patients may experience the following symptoms---fatigue, confusion, shortness of breath, dehydration, edema, etc.
Serum creatinine test is used to calculate GFR and measure kidney functions for renal failure patients. When creatinine is higher than 10mg/dl and GFR is below 15-10, it means that the illness has progressed into end stage and dialysis will be needed to sustain the patients’ life.
Of cause creatinine is not the only test that doctor will order, several tests are necessary including urine test, blood test to check blood urea nitrogen, uric acid, albumin, electrolytes, red blood cell count, etc. This is because renal failure will cause a series of symptoms and complications besides high creatinine level, therefore a thorough and careful diagnosis is necessary for providing effective treatments.
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