What Do My Kidneys Do Again
Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of an adult fist, located on either side of your spine below the rib cage.
Your kidneys are critically important and do many jobs for your body, including filtering waste out of your blood. They also control the production of red blood cells, release hormones that regulate blood pressure, and make vitamins that control growth.
Blood enters your kidney through an artery from the heart, then it travels through millions of tiny blood filters, separating the waste from the blood. The newly cleaned blood is pumped back into the bloodstream via the veins, while the waste is stored as urine in the bladder. Your kidneys filter about 200 quarts of fluid every 24 hours. Needless to say, your kidneys are vital to your well-being. You can, however, function healthily with just one kidney, which makes kidney donations possible.
What To Expect With A Kidney Disease Diagnosis
Since you can have kidney disease without any symptoms, your doctor may first detect the condition through routine blood and urine tests.
The National Kidney Foundation recommends 3 simple tests to screen for kidney disease:
Measuring urea nitrogen in the blood provides additional information.
How Is A Creatinine Test Done
There are two main ways doctors use creatinine tests to measure kidney function:
Urine tests. Creatinine clearance can be pinpointed by measuring the amount of creatinine in a sample of pee collected over 24 hours. For this method, you store all your urine in a plastic jug for one day and then bring it in for testing. This method is inconvenient, but it may be necessary to diagnose some kidney conditions.
Blood tests.Doctors can estimate GFR using a single blood level of creatinine, which they enter into a formula. Different formulas take into account your age, sex, and sometimes weight and ethnicity. The higher the blood creatinine level, the lower the estimated GFR and creatinine clearance.
For practical reasons, the blood test method for GFR is used far more often than the 24-hour urine collection test for creatinine clearance. But urine collections may still be useful in people who have large muscle mass or a marked decrease in muscle mass.
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Securing Hospice Care Services
If you or a loved one is unable to receive treatment for CKD, it may be time to consider hospice care services, as the disease is not fully curable. Reach out to Harbor Light Hospice for more information about CKD or to use Harbor Lights hospice care services for a loved one in the late stages of CKD. The organizations customized hospice care services include the support of nurses, doctors, and mental and spiritual health counselors, who provide comprehensive care for patients and their loved ones as the patient nears the end of their life.
When To See A Doctor
If youre experiencing symptoms of kidney disease, make sure to schedule a visit with a doctor. This is especially important if you carry one of the risk factors for elevated creatinine levels. Some people may be able to lower creatinine levels with some lifestyle changes, while others could require treatment for more serious conditions.
To stay ahead of symptoms, monitor your health, and make sure to visit the doctor for regular checkups. Healthline recommends getting routine blood work and physical therapy at least once per year. Hopefully, this can allow you to catch potential health risks before it escalates to severe stages.
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Rhabdomyolysis Symptoms And Causes
What are the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis?
The muscle damage causes inflammation leading to tenderness, swelling, and weakness of the affected muscles. The dark urine color is due to myoglobin being excreted in the urine by the kidney as it tries to rid the body of the muscle breakdown products.
Symptoms related to the expected complications of rhabdomyolysis include:
- symptoms of kidney failure, which may include swelling of the hands and feet
- shortness of breath as excess fluid builds up in the lungs,
- symptoms of hyperkalemia such as weakness, nausea, lightheadedness, and palpitations due to heart rhythm disturbances) and
- disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disruption of the normal blood clotting process, may occur as unexplained bleeding.
- Rhabdomyolysis may not cause any symptoms at all.
- Muscle aches and pain , stiffness, and muscle weakness can occur with rhabdomyolysis, and is especially common with severe muscle damage.
- Rhabdomyolysis may cause a darkening of the urine color.
- Myoglobin is released from the muscles when they break down and is excreted into the urine. This can cause a red or cola color of the urine.
Why The Test Is Performed
Creatinine is a chemical waste product of creatine. Creatine is a chemical the body makes to supply energy, mainly to muscles.
Creatinine is removed, or cleared, from the body entirely by the kidneys. If kidney function is abnormal, creatinine level increases in the blood because less creatinine is excreted through the urine.
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What Are High And Low Creatinine Levels
A high creatinine level is typically anything over 1.3 .
Certain conditions may cause a person to have higher than normal levels of creatinine.
- People with only one kidney may have a normal creatinine level of about 1.8 or 1.9.
- Creatinine levels of 2.0 or more in infants and 5.0 or more in adults may indicate severe kidney damage.
- People who are dehydrated may have elevated creatinine levels.
Low creatinine levels are often seen in patients with low muscle mass and are not usually considered a serious medical problem.
- Limit alcohol intake.
If creatinine levels are elevated from dehydration, rehydration is needed either via oral fluids or intravenously.
Medications that cause high creatinine levels may need to be changed or stopped. Talk to your doctor before altering or stopping any medications.
Other than for trying to increase muscle mass in general, low creatinine levels usually do not require treatment.
Stages Of Kidney Disease
The term chronic kidney disease is used worldwide to mean any form of kidney disease that goes on for more than a few months.
The word chronic doesnt necessarily mean serious and the word disease includes any abnormality of kidney structure or function, whether or not it is likely to cause a person to feel unwell or to develop complications.
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When Creatinine Levels Are Increasing Rapidly
Creatinine levels can be normal or slightly abnormal for a long time and then start increasing rapidly.
The main question to answer in such a scenario is whether the damage is reversible or not? In both the situations some very critical decisions regarding treatment have to be taken. In such a situation very detailed investigation including urine and blood tests, ultrasound scanning, kidney biopsy, etc may be needed.
Dialysis may also be needed at least temporarily. Hence it is important to see a nephrologist when creatinine levels start to rise rapidly.
So, there you have it. Four situations when one has to take proper care of ones kidney health based on blood creatinine test.
Also blood creatinine levels tell more about your kidney function than ultrasound scan which may be reported as bilateral renal parenchymal disease but gives very little information about kidney function.
Some numbers :
- 15% of Indians have chronic kidney disease. Unfortunately, a vast majority are unaware of it. The easiest way to diagnose early is to be aware of the risk factors mentioned above and test regularly.
- 2 lakh Indians develop kidney failure requiring dialysis every year. Again, most of them are recognised too late. The above measure of periodic testing will help in recognizing the people with severe kidney failure early. They can then prepare properly for dialysis.
Are There Stages Of Chronic Kidney Disease
Yes, there are five stages of kidney disease. The stages are based on how well your kidneys are able to do their job to filter out waste and extra fluid from your blood. The stages range from very mild to kidney failure . Healthcare providers determine the stage of your kidney function according to the glomerular filtration rate . Your GFR is a number based on the amount of creatinine, a waste product, found in your blood, along with other factors including your age, race and gender.
|Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease|
- Are African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian.
- Are over 60 years of age.
- Have a long history of taking painkillers, including over-the-counter products such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
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What Is The Prognosis For High And Low Creatinine Levels
The prognosis for high creatinine levels depends on the underlying cause.
If high creatinine levels are due to kidney disease, it depends on the stage of the illness. Kidney disease often progresses slowly, and early stages may often be managed with a healthy diet, exercise, and proper medications. In later stages, dialysis or even kidney transplantation may be needed.
If creatinine levels are elevated due to dehydration, then rehydration often fixes the problem with no lasting effects.
Low levels of creatinine are usually not considered a serious medical problem. In cases where patients can increase muscle mass, this may be helpful.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Creatinine Levels
Like proteinuria, a high creatine level is more an indication of a potential health problem, rather than a problem itself. If your creatine level increase is caused by a kidney issues, you may experience related symptoms. Kidney conditions often cause bladder and fluid retention issues.If your kidneys arent working well enough to remove toxins and waste from your body, you could notice a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Changes in urination frequency and appearance
- High blood pressure
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Increased Consumption Of Protein
What a person eats can have an effect on creatinine levels.
For example, proteins and cooked meat contain creatinine, so eating more than the recommended amount of meat or other proteins for a persons activity levels can cause high creatinine levels after eating.
However, long-term studies have shown that high protein diets do not significantly impact blood creatinine levels over a 2-year period.
People On Dialysis Should Eat Reduced Amounts Of Potassium
It is important that people on dialysis reduce their intake of the mineral potassium. Potassium levels in the blood may build up and become elevated in between dialysis treatments and can affect your heartbeat. Too much potassium in the blood can cause nausea, weakness, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and can even lead to cardiac arrest and death.
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What Causes Elevated Creatinine Levels
Creatinine is a waste metabolite produced by muscles after they have finished contracting. It is introduced into the blood and excreted into the urine by the kidneys. Elevated creatinine levels generally indicate a decline in kidney function. Impaired kidney function can happen gradually without a person being aware of it. A routine blood test showing an increased level of creatinine is often the first indication of kidney disease.
The kidneys filter large volumes of blood to remove extra water and waste products. A common waste product removed by the kidneys is creatinine, which is produced from the breakdown of creatine phosphate in muscles. Generally, healthy people will have a constant level of creatinine over time. Men typically have a higher concentration than women, because they have more muscle tissue. Vegetarians and the elderly frequently have lower levels of this compound.
How Does Stage 3 Kidney Disease Influence Your Life
At stage 3, the kidneys have been moderately damaged however, you can usually continue normal body functions, so it shouldnt have a massive impact on your life.
Nevertheless, it does need to be taken seriously, as if you do not receive effective and timely treatment, the kidney condition will worsen, and this can severely shorten your life. Patients with stage 3 kidney disease have suffered a moderate GFR reduction to 30-59 ml/min/m2, and a loss of around half the kidney function.
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Top 5 Most Important Kidney Health Numbers
If you’ve gone for your annual physical recently, you’re staring at a report that may as well have been written in a foreign language. Which numbers are especially important in predicting kidney health and what’s in the normal range?
- Estimated GFR – Measures kidney function, over 60 is normal, under 60, talk to your doctor. GFR, or glomerular filtration rate, tells you how well your kidneys are doing their job of filtering the blood.
- Albumin to Creatinine Ratio – Estimates the amount of protein found in your urine in a day. Protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney disease. Less than 30 is normal, over 30, talk to your doctor.
- Blood Glucose – Checks for diabetes, the leading cause of kidney failure. While fasting: over 125 and after eating: over 200 indicates diabetes.
- Blood Pressure– High blood pressure leads to kidney disease. If the upper number is over 140 and the lower number is above 90, your blood pressure is too high. The target may be lower depending on the amount of albumin in your urine and if you have diabetes. Ask your healthcare professional what blood pressure level is right for you.
What Should Your Creatinine Levels Be At Every Age
Its remarkable how much you can learn about your health with a simple blood test. The many levels recorded in your blood can advise doctors when you require lifestyle changes or treatment, potentially even saving your life. One vital thing that a blood test can measure is your creatinine levels.
It turns out the level of creatinine in your body is directly linked to certain health scares. The ideal level isnt the same for everyone across the board, which is why you should be aware of the creatinine goal based on your age. Lets take a closer look at what creatinine is, how it impacts your body, and what is considered normal levels for every age.
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Who Should Be Tested For Ckd
See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of CKD, such as:
- weight loss or poor appetite
- swollen ankles, feet or hands
- peeing more than usual, particularly at night
Your GP can look for other possible causes and arrange tests if necessary.
Because CKD often has no symptoms in the early stages, some people at a higher risk should be tested regularly.
Regular testing is recommended if you have:
- acute kidney injury sudden damage to the kidneys that causes them to stop working properly
- cardiovascular disease conditions that affect the heart, arteries and veins, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
- other conditions that can affect the kidneys such as kidney stones, an enlarged prostate or lupus
- a family history of advanced CKD or an inherited kidney disease
- protein or blood in your urine where there’s no known cause
You’re also more likely to develop kidney disease if you’re black or of south Asian origin.
People taking long-term medicines that can affect the kidneys, such as lithium, omeprazole or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , should also be tested regularly.
Talk to your GP if you think you may need regular testing for kidney disease.
What Is A Creatinine Test
A creatinine test, also called a serum creatinine test, is a way for doctors to measure how well your kidneys are working. Creatinine is a waste product from the normal breakdown of muscle tissue. As your body makes it, it’s filtered through your kidneys and expelled in urine. Your kidneys‘ ability to handle creatinine is called the creatinine clearance rate, and this helps estimate how fast blood is moving through your kidneys, called the glomerular filtration rate .
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What Is The Creatinine Clearance Test
The creatinine clearance test is an older test used to check your kidney function. This test allows your healthcare provider to look at samples of your urine and blood to see how much of the waste product creatinine is filtered out by your kidneys. Abnormal levels of creatinine in your urine and blood could point to an issue like kidney disease.
Done in two parts, the creatinine clearance test involves collecting your urine over a 24-hour period of time and then having your blood drawn. These samples are then tested to see how much creatinine was filtered through your kidneys over the 24-hour window. The results of the test will be used in a mathematic formula that figures out your creatinine clearance. Creatinine clearance is one way to estimate your glomerular filtration rate , or how well the kidneys are filtering your blood. The GFR is the main number used by your provider to determine how well your kidneys are working.
The creatinine clearance test is not used very often any more. It has largely been replaced by the estimated GFR equations using creatinine levels in the blood which means a 24-hour urine collection is not needed.