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Creatinine is a waste molecule that is produced through muscle metabolisms consumption of meat from keratin. Creatine is a chemical molecule in your body and is stored in muscles for energy production. This substance flows through the blood vessels and is filtered by the kidneys to be excreted through urine.

Everyone has creatinine in their bloodstream. The normal range for creatinine will depend on your gender, age and body size. Creatinine can be a reference to how well your kidney is working. Your kidneys are the organs that maintain your creatinine levels at normal range. Higher creatinine levels can be a marker of impaired kidney function or kidney disease.

To monitor creatinine levels in your body, it is recommended that you take a creatinine level test followed by Basal Urea Nitrogen (BUN) to measure the amount of urea nitrogen in your blood. The test will show how your kidneys work. If your kidneys are healthy, your creatinine levels will be at normal range.

Symptoms of Abnormal Range of Creatinine 

The following are some of the symptoms that may arise when you have abnormal range of creatinine:

  • Fever.
  • Fainting
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood in urine
  • Decreased urine output 
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain

Purposes of Creatinine Test

Each kidney has millions of nephrons to filter blood through small groups of blood vessels known as glomerular — which function to filter waste products and extra fluids from your blood.  Then, the filtered toxins will be stored in the bladder and excreted through urine.

Creatinine is primarily excreted by the kidneys. A creatinine blood test is done to measure the creatinine levels in your blood. Apart from that, the test is also done to check your kidney’s function. High levels of creatinine may indicate kidney disease or your kidneys are not working well. 

How often you need creatinine tests depends on any underlying conditions and your risk of kidney damage. Here are some examples of conditions that may require: 

  • If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your doctor may recommend a creatinine test at least once a year.
  • If you have kidney disease, your doctor may recommend periodic creatinine tests to monitor the condition of your kidneys.
  • If you have a disease that may affect your kidney function such as hypertension, diabetes, or taking certain medication — your doctor may recommend a creatinine test to monitor the condition of your kidneys.

Cost Estimation for Creatinine Test

A creatinine test is usually performed along with other tests to check your kidney’s function, such as urine tests, blood urea, and glomerular filtration rate (GFR).

For more details regarding the cost estimation for a creatinine test procedure, contact Smarter Health

Pre-Creatinine Test

There is no special preparation required for a creatinine test. — you do not need to fast. Instead, you are encouraged to eat and drink as usual to get accurate test results.

However, you need to tell your doctor about any medications you are currently taking. This is because several types of medications can increase the levels of creatinine in your blood and cause impaired kidney function. These conditions may affect the test results. You should inform your doctor if you are taking:

  • Medicines for chemotherapy.
  • Cimetidine — a type of medication to control excess stomach acid 
  • Cephalosporins — a type of antibiotics used to kill bacteria by inhibiting the formation of bacterial cell walls.
  • NSAIDs — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to treat musculoskeletal disorders, such as fever and inflammation.

Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications or lower the dose before taking the test. This is done to achieve a more accurate test result. You should continue to follow your doctor’s instructions until the test is complete.

During Creatinine Test 

A creatinine test is a simple test by taking blood as a sample for further examination. Your doctor will first ask you to roll up your sleeves, sterilize an area in your arm with an antiseptic, and use a tourniquet to make it easier to see the veins

After that, a small needle will be inserted into your arm to collect a number of blood samples. You may feel pain during the process.

After the blood sample has been collected, your doctor will remove the needle, cover the puncture site with cotton or gauze, and ask you to apply a pressure to stop the bleeding.

During Creatinine Test 

Your blood sample will be sent to the laboratory to be tested. Your injection pain will gradually disappear and you will be able return to normal activities immediately.

In some cases, your doctor also asks you to do a urine test to measure the creatinine level in the urine. Your doctor will ask you to collect urine in a special container and send it to the laboratory for further analysis. A urine creatinine test can help your doctor diagnose more accurately if you have a kidney problem

Understanding Your Test Results 

After receiving your results, it is important to remember that normal and abnormal creatinine levels may vary from laboratory to laboratory. This may happen since some laboratories use different measurements and methods of testing samples.

To understand the creatinine test results, you should always consult with your doctor to discuss the test results in more detail. Your doctor will help you understand the test results and advise you if you need a series of other tests, as well as determine the right type of treatment for your condition.

Creatinine test results may also vary depending on age, sex, and body shape. People who are muscular tend to have higher creatinine levels. In general, normal creatinine levels range from 0.9 to 1.3 mg / dL in men and 0.6 to 1.1 mg / dL in women aged 18 to 60 years. Higher levels of creatinine may indicate that the kidneys are not working well. There are also several conditions that cause creatinine levels to be higher than normal, such as: 

  • Dehydration.
  • High protein diet.
  • Blocked urinary tract.
  • Kidney problems, such as kidney damage or infection.
  • Heart failure or diabetes complications that cause reduced blood flow to the kidneys.

An increase in creatinine may only be temporary depending on the underlying cause, such as dehydration and a high protein diet. People on dialysis also have the possibility to lower the levels of creatinine. 

Risks of Creatinine Test

You may usually receive your results within a few days after the test. While waiting for the test results, you can go about your daily activities as usual. However, there are some small risks that may occur after you have a creatinine test, such as:

  • Dizziness or vertigo.
  • Injection site pain.
  • Bruising or redness at the injection site.
  • Infection — may occur due to errors during blood sampling.

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