Creatinine is a waste product that results from the natural breakdown of muscle tissues. It is produced as it passes through the kidneys for filtration before being excreted through urine.
The level of creatinine in the blood tells something about one’s kidney function. Each blood in the body flows through the kidneys countless times in a day. A healthy kidney would be able to push the liquid part of blood through tiny filters called nephrons, filter out waste products, before reabsorbing the liquid back into the blood.
The kidney’s ability to handle creatinine helps in estimating the body’s glomerular filtration rate (GFR) or the rate of blood flow through the kidneys. The GFR can’t be measured directly, and so tests for creatinine levels and clearance are done instead.
Creatinine clearance is the amount of blood one’s kidney can produce creatinine-free per minute. To put it simply, as kidney function declines, so as the creatinine clearance.
A healthy young woman typically has a creatinine clearance of about 95 mL. Still, GFR may vary depending on one’s age, sex, and size.
There are two creatinine tests that help in evaluating kidney function:
1. Serum Creatinine: A blood sample is taken to analyse the creatinine level in one’s bloodstream. Along with personal details such as age and gender, your GFR will be calculated. The higher the creatinine level, the lower the estimated GFR.
2. Creatinine Clearance: For this one, both blood and urine tests are needed to measure the amount of creatinine in the samples for the past 24 hours.
Your trusted healthcare professional will help you address an actionable plan that will address your problem. Further tests in a trusted kidney care centre may be advised in order to determine the root cause of your kidney disease. As an example, people with high blood pressure or diabetes will be asked to get these conditions under control through proper diet, exercise, and medication.
Dialysis isn’t usually advised until the GFR or creatinine clearance falls very low. But it should be noted that kidney function naturally declines as our body ages. It’s always important to take action as early as possible in order to preserve as much kidney function as you can.
If you are having problems with your kidney and need help to manage it, you may want to consult your doctor directly to provide you more details.