What Does High Creatinine Signify?
Creatinine is a product which forms naturally in your body, and a high creatinine level simply means you have more of this product than you should. The process we call metabolism converts the food we eat into the energy our body requires. A byproduct of this process is creatine. Creatine in the bloodstream passes through the kidneys where it is transformed into creatinine. Some of the creatinine is then passed of the body through the urine, as waste and some of it is returned to the bloodstream, where it performs a very useful function.
The creation of creatinine is an on-going process and is unaffected by what we happen to be eating or what we happen to be doing. As long our metabolism is converting food into energy, which is most of the time, creatine is being produced and is being transformed into creatinine by the kidneys.
Creatinine Tests - The presence of creatinine can be measured in the blood or in the urine, and if there is a problem with the kidneys it is often measured in both. Although creatinine is an important amino acid used extensively in our muscular system, when the levels are not what they should be it is usually a sign of a blood filtration problem, in other words, possible kidney damage. When one or both kidneys are not functioning properly, a urine test will exhibit a low creatinine level while a blood test will show the presence of a high creatinine level.
If you have kidney disease, or there is a suspicion that you may have a kidney problem, a doctor will not only check the creatinine levels, but also the levels of urea, which is produced in the liver and expelled in the urine. Creatinine-urea ratios are generally good indicators as to how well the kidneys are performing, or in the event of kidney disease, whether the disease is progressing or regressing, a situation can be determined though periodic testing. These tests are often conducted when people are taking medications which have a potential to cause kidney damage or medications that may cause dehydration, which also will influence creatinine levels. In the case of dehydration, the ratio of urea to creatinine will give the doctor a good deal of information as to what might be happening.
Other Causes Of Creatinine Imbalances - While kidney problems are normally what account for high creatinine levels in the blood, there are other possible causes as well. There are a number of diseases or disorders affecting the muscles, including muscular dystrophy, which will cause creatinine levels to rise. A kidney stone blocking the urinary tract will result in creatinine levels in the bloodstream to markedly increase, and heart failure or excessive blood loss due to trauma can do the same. Hypothyroidism and carbon monoxide poisoning are two other causes of high creatinine. Pregnancy affects creatinine levels though usually the levels will measure on the low side. Older people will generally have lower levels of creatinine in their blood, while heavily muscled younger people generally have slightly higher than average creatinine levels.
Summary – The Canary In The Coal Mine - The presence of creatinine not only is important as far as our muscles are concerned, but also serves as a kind of canary in a coal mine capacity. Like many other chemicals in our body, there is a certain range of levels which are proper, and when a measure is too high or too low it is often an indication that a problem exists. In the case of high creatinine, the finger of guilt points to the kidneys.