Though high creatinine levels do not definitely mean there is kidney problems. If high creatinine persists or it has the trend to become even higher when other possible causes are ruled out such as dehydration, urinary tract infections, high protein and meat intake, creatine supplement or strenuous activities, it is very possible that high creatinine is due to impaired kidney functions and declined GFR levels.
This is because creatinine concentration in the blood is mainly up to kidney functions and glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Creatinine is a metabolic waste and the kidney is the major organ to remove creatinine from the blood. When there is any problem with the kidneys, for example renal impairments caused by many years high blood pressure or diabetes, the impaired kidneys can not function well to filter creatinine and other wastes and toxins from the blood. Therefore high creatinine levels will occur.
For those that have already developed kidney problem, serum creatinine test is a good indicator of renal functions. However it is not very sensitive for detecting early renal damages, therefore nephrologists recommend checking the patient’s GFR besides creatinine levels. GFR can better reflect the severity of renal damages and residual kidney functions and it can reflect early renal damages. GFR is often used by the doctors to calculate the patient’s kidney functions and low GFR is often accompanied by high creatinine and low renal functions. Therefore it is recommended that kidney disease patients should ask their doctors for the GFR levels besides creatinine levels.
For kidney disease patients, lowering high creatinine is not the ultimate goal. That is why dialysis can not cure kidney disease even though it is effective at lowering high creatinine levels. The root problem is damaged renal filtration system. When renal damaged tissues are repaired and renal functions are improved, excess creatinine can be removed by the kidneys, high creatinine will be lowered naturally and low GFR will be improved.
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