What causes high creatinine levels?

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One of the many systems in our body is the urinary system. The urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys comprise the urinary tract or renal system. The urinary system is in charge of balancing blood pH, metabolite and electrolyte levels, blood pressure, blood volume, and, finally, removing waste from our bodies.  

Normal levels 

The concentrations of creatinine that medical professionals deem to be expected can change between hospitals and laboratories. The typical reference range for serum creatinine is 60-110 micromoles per litre (mcmol/l), or 0.7-1.2 milligrammes per deciliter (mg/dl), for men and 45-90 mcmol/l (0.5-1.0 mg/dl), for women, according to research. 

Doctors may consider creatinine to be high if it is above these values. However, their choice will be influenced by a person’s muscle mass and additional elements, like age, sex, and hydration level. 


A consequence of regular muscle activity is creatinine. It is a creatine phosphate metabolite, which the muscles use as a fuel. A person’s levels of creatinine rise as their muscle mass increases. Males typically have greater creatinine levels than females due to this. 

The kidney’s filtration and subsequent excretion in the urine are the body’s primary methods for removing creatinine from the blood.

High creatinine levels 

If your creatinine levels are high, your kidneys may not function properly. High creatinine levels can have a variety of causes, some of which may only occur occasionally. Dehydration, consuming a lot of protein, or taking the supplement creatine are a few examples. Your kidneys may momentarily suffer from any of these. 

However, other reasons for a high creatinine could indicate a medical issue. Numerous of these disorders can harm kidney tissue or result in illness. 

Causes of high creatinine levels 

High creatinine levels typically signify that the kidneys are not functioning correctly. Some potential contributors to this dysfunction are: 

  • Infection of the kidneys. 
  • Glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s blood-filtering organs. 
  • Urinary tract obstruction due to kidney stones. 
  • Renal failure 
  • Numerous other variables, besides kidney function, might momentarily increase creatinine levels above normal. These include eating many protein-rich foods or taking dietary supplements and being pregnant and dehydrated. 
  • Some blood indicators, such as creatinine, can rise due to high-intensity exercise. When having a creatinine test, a patient should tell the doctor whether they are fasting, taking any drugs, or eating a lot of protein. 

Certain medications may temporarily raise serum creatinine levels or harm the kidneys. These organs can suffer harm from certain medical diseases, which increases creatinine levels. 

These circumstances include: 

Symptoms of high creatinine levels 

Drug toxicity 

Some medicines can harm the kidneys and reduce their capacity to operate. Examples of such medications include: 

  • antibiotics, such as aminoglycosides, rifampin, and vancomycin 
  • chemotherapy drugs 
  • proton pump inhibitors 
  • diuretics 
  • cardiovascular drugs
  • lithium 

The following are some symptoms of excessive creatinine that might appear rapidly : 

  • Confusion 
  • Fluid retention, particularly in your lower body 
  • Irregular heart rate 
  • Passing low amounts of urine 
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Nausea 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Chest pain 

Kidney infection 

A kidney infection is a form of urinary tract infection (UTI). It might occur if viruses or bacteria spread to the kidneys from other regions of the urinary tract. 

Renal infections can harm your kidneys and potentially result in untreated renal failure. The following are some signs of kidney infection to watch out for: 

  • Fever 
  • Pain localised to your back, side, or groin 
  • Urination that’s frequent or painful 
  • Urine that appears dark, cloudy, or bloody 
  • Bad-smelling urine 
  • Chills 
  • Nausea or vomiting 


Glomerulonephritis develops when the kidney’s blood-filtering regions become inflamed. Infections or autoimmune conditions like lupus and Goodpasture syndrome are a few possible causes. 

Due to elevated protein levels in the urine, high blood pressure can cause it to appear pink or brown and cause fluid retention in the hands, feet, and face. 

Kidney failure, as well as scarring and damage, can result from glomerulonephritis. The condition’s symptoms include: 


You can have diabetes if your blood sugar is too high. Kidney disease is one of the health issues that can result from high blood sugar levels. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the two varieties. Type 1 diabetes symptoms can appear suddenly, although type 2 symptoms frequently appear gradually. Diabetes’ general signs and symptoms include: 

  • Feeling very thirsty 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Increased appetite 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Slow wound healing 
  • Feeling fatigued 
  • Sensations of numbness or tingling in the hands and feet 

High blood pressure 

When the blood pressure against the artery walls is too high, high blood pressure could impair kidney function and raise creatinine levels by weakening or damaging the blood vessels around the kidneys. 

Many people are unaware they have high blood pressure because it frequently has no symptoms. It’s often found during a regular health checkup. 

Heart disease 

Atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure are two conditions that can affect the heart and blood arteries and affect kidney function. Blood flow to the kidneys can be impacted by certain diseases, which can result in injury or function loss. 

Atherosclerosis symptoms typically don’t appear until an artery is blocked or substantially constricted. The kind of artery that is compromised may also impact them.  

Urinary tract blockage 

Certain conditions, including kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, or tumours, can obstruct your urinary tract. This could cause urine to build up in the kidneys, resulting in hydronephrosis

Depending on the aetiology, symptoms of a urinary tract obstruction may appear suddenly or gradually over time. In addition to a high creatinine level, warning indications to watch for include: 

  • feeling tired 
  • blood in your urine 
  • pain in your back or side 
  • frequent or painful urination 
  • passing small amounts of urine 

Kidney failure

One of the most frequent reasons for elevated creatinine is renal failure, defined as a decline in kidney function. Either acute or chronic disease can exist. While the signs of chronic kidney failure appear over time, those of acute renal failure might appear suddenly. 

  • Nausea 
  • Fluid retention, particularly in your lower body 
  • Feeling weak or tired 
  • Passing low amounts of urine 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Headache 
  • Muscle cramping 
  • Confusion 
  • Chest pain 
  • Feeling itchy 
  • Shortness of breath 

Contacting a doctor 

Always call your doctor if you have any new, strange, or persistent symptoms, especially if they are indicators of an illness such as renal disease, diabetes, or heart disease. You and your doctor will assess your symptoms and choose the best action. 

Remember that acute kidney failure and chest pain should be treated seriously at all times. If you experience either of these, get quick medical help. 


Treatment for increased creatinine levels varies depending on the underlying cause. Antibiotic medication should assist in returning increased creatinine levels to normal when a kidney infection is the cause. 

Similarly, lowering creatinine levels should be aided by taking medication to control high blood pressure if that is the reason for the elevated levels. Medical specialists may also suggest modifying everyday practices, such as increasing fibre intake and decreasing protein intake, depending on the underlying issue. A person may control their creatinine levels by implementing these modifications. 


Any symptoms for individuals whose creatinine levels have temporarily increased should typically go away shortly after the underlying disease has been adequately treated. 

Those who can manage their diabetes or high blood pressure should also see improvements in their creatinine levels and renal health. 

Medicines and dialysis procedures may be necessary to remove toxins and waste items from the blood in renal failure patients. In cases of end-stage renal disease, a doctor might also advise kidney transplantation. 


What causes high creatinine levels most frequently?  

A high creatinine level could indicate poor renal function. However, other variables, such as dehydration and a high-protein diet, may increase creatinine levels. 

What must I do if my creatinine level is elevated?  

People should typically pay attention to their renal health if their creatinine levels are high. Anyone exhibiting any symptoms of an elevated creatinine level should consult a doctor. 


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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