What does a high creatinine level mean?

High creatinine levels in the body indicate that the kidneys are not working well and denote impaired kidney function. This actually happens due to poor clearance of creatinine by your kidneys. The normal creatinine levels in the body are 0.3 to 1.4 depending upon other factors as well and also an elevated creatinine level causes kidney failure.

What are the causes of the sudden increase in creatinine levels in the body?

The probable reasons for causing an uprise in creatinine levels include:- 

  • Drug toxicity or drug induced nephrotoxicity

Certain medicines can cause damage to our kidneys when their level of intake is not controlled, that is if taken in high doses can impair the kidney’s function. Such types of drugs include antibiotics such as aminoglycosides, rifampin, vancomycin, ACE inhibitors, statins, diuretics, chemotherapy drugs, lithium, etc.

  • Kidney infection or pyelonephritis

It is a type of kidney tract infection mostly due by bacteria or viruses that infect the urinary tract moving up to the kidneys. These kidney infections if left untreated causes damage and in severe cases cause kidney failure.

  • Diabetes

diabetes causes the blood sugar to rise high and elevated sugar level is also one of the reasons for developing kidney disease.

  • High blood pressure

high blood pressure weekends the blood vessels around all of the kidneys that highly impact the functioning of the kidneys causing creatinine levels to rise as well.

  • Cardiovascular diseases

Conditions affecting the functioning of the heart as well as blood vessels such as atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure highly impact kidney function enabling them to develop chronic disorders or even kidney failure.

What are the alarming levels of creatinine in the body?

The optimum level of creatinine in women is 0.2 to 0.8 whereas in men it is 0.2 to 1.2 mg/dL. However, creatinine levels of 2  or more in infants and 5 or more in adults indicate severe renal complications or severe kidney damage which needs to be treated as soon as possible.

What are the ways to bring down the creatinine level?

  • Avoid taking supplements that contain creatinine. Some medicines are available as oral supplements that contain creatinine thereby elevating the creatinine level even more in the body.
  • Reduce the amount of protein intake. According to studies , consuming a large amount of protein can assist in increasing creatinine  levels. Restrict red meat or other rich protein sources from your diet rather than you may switch to some vegetable based dishes recommended by your dietitian.
  • Include more fibre in your diet because fibre effect on creatinine levels. Studies showed that including more fibre can significantly help to reduce creatinine levels and people suffering from chronic kidney disease. Fibre can be abundantly enriched from many foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
  • Limit the amount of fluid you drink. People with kidney disease primarily need to regulate their fluid intake. dehydration leads to the elevation of creatinine levels and also you cannot intake much fluid due to chronic kidney disease as it may overwork your kidneys. So it is better to consult your healthcare provider to know the correct amount of water and also the best time for it.
  • Lower the salt amount from diet. Getting excess salt in the body contributes to other health complications such as high blood pressure, fluid retention and other renal problems.
  • Avoid the overuse of NSAIDs. Taking the over the counter painkillers such as non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs may prove harmful to you if you take in high doses or in repeated usage. You can talk to your health care provider to know the right quantity of painkillers to take or it may show some severe side effects which may be harmful or even fatal to the kidneys.
  • Avoid smoking completely. Smoking often increases the chances for chronic kidney disease and your kidneys may also increase the creatinine levels in the body.
  • Avoid taking alcohol. Alcohol consumption is a potent agent to damage the kidneys. Besides increasing the risk for developing chronic kidney disease it also causes the other conditions such as high blood pressure and alcohol dependency to develop.

Can drinking water help in lowering creatinine levels?

  • Patients with kidney failure should focus more on the regulation of water intake in the body. Drinking more water can effectively lower the serum creatinine level but does not change the kidney function. Patients with chronic kidney disease or other renal impairment rather demand less water to intake because forcing excessive water intake is not at all a good idea as it may overwork the kidneys.
  • So, a critical analysis should be made to lower the creatinine level. Therefore before increasing the daily amount of water you should talk to your nephrologist first.

At what greeting level should dialysis be started?

  • According to the national kidney foundation guidelines, a patient should be laid on dialysis when their kidney function drops to 15% or less or when you are having severe symptoms such as breath shortness, fatigue, nausea, muscle cramps, vomiting, inflammation or pain in joints.
  • When the glomerular filtration rate of a person drops to 15 or less than it shows the severe renal impairment and dialysis only remains the treatment option for such patients.

What are the first signs and symptoms of high creatinine levels causing kidney problems?

The signs and symptoms that you need not ignore are

  • Decrease in urine output
  • Retention of fluid causes swelling inflammation in legs, feet or ankles making it painful for joints and faces difficulties while walking.
  • Breath shortness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Swellings around eyes and joints.

Which exercises are good for the kidneys?

Certain yoga exercises can definitely help in the inner healing of the body and regulating blood circulation. When suffering from acute kidney injury, you may choose continuous activities such as walking, swimming, cycling, skiing, aerobic dancing, or any other activities. However, do not involve in high energy-requiring exercises as they may overwork the body’s function.

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