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Creatinine, Creatinine Clearance Test Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule (a "breakdown product") generated from muscle metabolism. Creatinine is produced from creatine, a molecule of great importance for energy production in muscles. Approximately 2% of the body's creatine is converted to creatinine every day and transported through the bloodstream to the kidneys. The kidneys filter out most of the creatinine and dispose of it in the urine. Although it is a waste product, creatinine serves a vital diagnostic function. Creatinine has been found to be a fairly reliable indicator of kidney function. As the kidneys become impaired creatinine will rise. Abnormally high levels of creatinine thus warn of possible malfunction or failure of the kidneys, sometimes even before a patient reports any symptoms. For this reason that standard blood and urine tests routinely check the amount of creatinine in the blood. 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.

The creatinine clearance test helps determine whether the kidneys are functioning normally. This test gauges the rate at which creatinine is "cleared" from the blood by the kidneys. The rate of creatinine clearance is measured by first noting the volume of urine excreted in a given time period, such as 24 hours. Then the amount of creatinine in the excreted urine is measured and compared with the amount of creatinine circulating in the blood. If the kidneys are not removing enough creatinine, the level of creatinine in the urine will fall. And consequently the level of creatinine in the blood will rise. When the kidneys fail to clear enough creatinine and other wastes from the blood, the wastes build up in the bloodstream. Symptoms of kidney disease - including edema, nausea, and high blood pressure - may develop. However, the creatinine clearance test can usually detect waste buildup in the blood before it threatens the body. Doctors can then try to eliminate the cause of the buildup and restore blood creatinine to normal levels. A creatinine clearance test, thus, plays a key role in preventive medicine as well as in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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