Creatinine Blood Test (cont.)

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What are "normal" blood creatinine levels?

Normal levels of creatinine in the blood are approximately 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dL) in adult males and 0.5 to 1.1 milligrams per deciliter in adult females. (In the metric system, a milligram is a unit of weight equal to one-thousandth of a gram, and a deciliter is a unit of volume equal to one-tenth of a liter.)

Muscular young or middle-aged adults may have more creatinine in their blood than the norm for the general population. Elderly persons, on the other hand, may have less creatinine in their blood than the norm. Infants have normal levels of about 0.2 or more, depending on their muscle development. In people with malnutrition, severe weight loss, and long standing illnesses, the muscle mass tends to diminish over time and, therefore, their creatinine level may be lower than expected for their age.

A person with only one kidney may have a normal level of about 1.8 or 1.9. Creatinine levels that reach 2.0 or more in babies and 10.0 or more in adults may indicate severe kidney impairment and the need for a dialysis machine to remove wastes from the blood.

What are the reasons for elevated blood creatinine?

Any condition that impairs the function of the kidneys is likely to raise the creatinine level in the blood. It is important to recognize whether the process leading to kidney dysfunction (kidney failure, azotemia) is longstanding or recent. Recent elevations may be more easily treated and reversed.

The most common causes of longstanding (chronic) kidney disease in adults are high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus. Certain drugs can sometimes cause abnormally elevated creatinine levels. Serum creatinine can also transiently increase after ingestion of a large amount of dietary meat; thus, nutrition can sometimes play a role in creatinine measurement.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/11/2014

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