What causes elevated creatinine levels?

Updated February 21, 2017

It's been called the fountain of youth--a magical substance capable of keeping our bodies younger, stronger and more agile. Creatinine is a naturally occurring amino acid that has been shown to build strength in humans. Although the body manufactures creatinine at certain levels depending on how active a person is, having high amounts of creatinine in your blood may point to a problem.

High Creatinine and Kidney Function

The kidney's are the key to understanding why a person's creatinine level would be high. Often, an elevated levels of creatinine point directly to the body's filtration system and how that system is functioning. Of the greatest concern is a decrease in kidney function.

More Muscles, Higher Levels

Since creatinine is an acid that helps with muscular function, it only stands to reason that creatinine is more prominent in those with more developed muscles. Therefore, you'll find higher levels of creatinine in younger, more well-defined humans. Babies and elderly will naturally have a lower level of creatinine.

High Blood Pressure, Hypertension and Diabetes

Hypertension, high blood pressure and diabetes can cause damage to your body's filtration ability. This ability runs mainly through the kidneys. Damage to the body's filtration can lead to a higher than normal or elevated creatinine level, and all this has a strong connection to kidney function. So the fact that you have a elevated creatinine level could be telling you something far more important about your body, including how you are treating it and what you are putting in it.

Checking Creatinine Levels

Physicians have several things they can do to check a person's creatinine levels. To get a good measurement of the patient's renal function, a creatinine clearance test is performed. This involves the application of a formula to determine the blood creatinine level in relation to the amount present in the urine over a 24-hour period.

Other Tests

On its own, a elevated level of creatinine doesn't provide doctors with a whole lot of information. Other tests need to be performed in order to understand exactly what is going on in the body and why it is either producing more creatinine or simply not filtering out the creatinine that currently exists. Tests such as a urine examination for chemical and biological content along with X-rays or scans will give doctors a more complete picture and allow them to pinpoint why the creatinine level is elevated.

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About the Author

Patrick Cameron is a freelance writer with 10 years of diverse experience in consumer goods branding, promotions and retail communications. He works out of his home in Denver, Colo. He received his Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Minnesota.