What level of creatinine indicates kidney failure?

Creatinine is a chemical waste by-product that comes from the normal wear and tears on the muscles of the body. Healthy kidneys will filter this waste out of the blood in the form of urine.

A creatinine test, on the other hand, is a way of examining how well your kidneys are functioning at the moment; its function is to filter waste from the blood and discard them from the body.

According to Mayo Clinic, the normal range of creatinine (for an adult) in the blood is typical: U.S. units: 0.84 to 1.21 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

What level of creatinine indicates kidney failure
What level of creatinine indicates kidney failure

An abnormal increase in creatinine levels indicates impaired kidney function or kidney disease.

Remember this. Any kind of kidney disease will lead to an elevation in your creatinine levels present in the blood, due to poor clearance or removal of this waste by the kidneys.

The first signs and symptoms that you can keep an eye on, for acute kidney malfunction are the following:

  • Lower levels of urine output (frequency, pain, blood)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluid Retention (an accumulation of fluid in body tissues and cavities) that will cause swelling of feet, ankles, or legs.
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Puffiness around the eyes

If you notice any of these signs, call your doctor or healthcare provider immediately and they will prescribe you get a creatinine test done. Don’t think twice and get it done right away.

You are at an increased risk if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • High blood pressure
  • A family history of kidney disease
  • A blocked urinary tract
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Bacterial infection of kidneys

If you’re an athlete or a passionate sportsperson, then you must be aware of the consumption of creatine supplements taken to improve performance. It is very common for athletes to consume loading doses as high as 20 gm/day; as stated in a report by Pubmed. 1

The majority of this creatine consumed [ 90% ] is discarded from the body in the form of urine.

Normally, healthy kidneys can discard creatine and its by-product creatinine, in a manner that does not adversely affect renal function of the kidneys.

However, there have been a few instances where these high doses have led to complete renal dysfunction.

The limited number of studies enables doctors to answer the most important question. Can long-term use of these creatine supplements and products have any adverse effects on renal function?

Keep one thing in mind. The safety of these supplements and their effects on the kidneys can be guaranteed. Hence, be very mindful before you take a step forward in this direction.

Moving ahead, even pregnancy and certain medications containing salts like sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, etc. can raise creatinine levels.

Here are a few handy tips that you can inculcate (follow or include) regularly to lower your creatinine levels and ensure the optimum functioning of your kidneys:

  • Reduce Your Protein Intake

Research brought forward by Healthline shows that consuming excess amounts of proteins can elevate creatinine levels. Especially red meat.

The heat from cooking converts the creatine present in red meat to creatinine.

People following protein-rich diets like these [red meat, dairy products, etc.] are at a higher risk of increased creatinine levels.

Go veggie and take a break from the rich meats. Opt for vegetarian burgers, stews, and soups to nourish your body.

  • Lower Your Salt Intake

Excess salt increases the sodium levels in the body, contributing to high blood pressure. Processed foods are loaded with these substances and can lead to renal problems.

Opt for whole-grain foods which are unprocessed. Season your food items with herbs and spices instead whenever possible.

  •  Avoid Creatine Supplements

If you aim to reduce your creatinine levels, then definitely drop these supplements out. This is particularly concentrated on athletes. 2

Consult your doctor before adding any new supplements to avoid any problems in the future.

  • Avoid Smoking

Smoking cigarettes or using tobacco-based products can affect the body in several detrimental ways that can lead to future complications—one of them being- Chronic Kidney Disease.

Quit smoking to reduce the risk of elevated creatinine and issues with the body.

  • Limit Alcohol Consumption

Just like any other habit did in an ‘excess’ can lead to potential harm; Excessive alcohol consumption has the potential to damage the kidneys and other organs of the body with other complications like high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, etc.

Limit your alcohol consumption to avoid any issues in the future.

  • Opt For A Fibre-Rich Diet

We’re talking all about veggies, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.

These superfoods are obviously packed with fiber and can significantly lower creatinine levels in the blood.

These foods have a benefits-only scheme and promote all-embracing body development.

  • Avoid Over-Using OTC (Over The Counter) Medicines

Painkillers like NSAIDs [Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs] that save your soul from that mind-splitting headache or stomach ache or basically any issue; can be deemed harmful if taken in harmful amounts and over the recommended dosage.

Always consider talking to your doctor to determine the right treatment for your problem.

  • Talk To Your Doctor About Your Fluid-Intake

If you’re guilty of not following the 8-glasses of water a day rule then this one is especially for you.

Dehydration is one of the many issues that arise during summers.

Remaining dehydrated can increase the creatinine levels in the body. People facing kidney issues should be especially mindful regarding their fluid intake.

To sum it up, These bean-shaped organs purify you from within and bless you with a healthy life. Hence, their care and maintenance are as important as any other organ present in your body. Do everything in your will to nourish them and provide them with love and care.

What level of creatinine indicates kidney failure?

The normal range in a normally functioning Kidney for men should be between 0.6 to 1.2mg/dL and for women between 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL.

Creatinine levels can rise in the body for various reasons: Dehydration and consuming excess protein can contribute to increased creatinine levels in the body.

Increased creatinine levels in the body do not indicate any life-threatening disease but it does indicate a problem with the kidney.

A sudden increase in the creatinine levels indicates acute kidney injury and a persistent increase in creatinine levels in the body indicates chronic kidney injury.

In Acute kidney injury, the focus is to maintain the kidney function and treat any injury that has occurred to the kidney while chronic kidney injury involves treating the factors causing deterioration of the kidney such as diabetes and high blood pressure, etc. so that further damage to the kidney stops.

It is strongly recommended that you do not wait for your symptoms to worsen and visit a doctor for treatment. Below is a well-explained chart that shows what are the various kidney tests that are used to measure kidney functioning.

What level of creatinine indicates kidney failure

About the author

Deepanshu has a Master's in chemistry. He has worked extensively on research subjects regarding cancer and radio nuclear science and has continually reviewed nutrition science.

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