Human waste products are not a popular topic among discussions. Although people are relatively comfortable with sharing their other health problems, many shy off from this area. However, waste materials are good indicators of health. Such is the case of urine, the liquid excrement consisting of different compounds and dissolved ions. Any abnormality in its composition can signify disease. Still, it’s important to determine when the substances in your urine, like creatinine levels, in particular, can be a valid cause for worry.
Detecting Health Issues Through the Urine
There are several methods to detect and diagnose health issues by testing the components of urine. For instance, the Health Encyclopedia of the University of Rochester Medical Center reports that there are normal ranges for the substances found in human urine. To determine if they are at the right levels, it’s helpful to assess urine characteristics such as cells, properties, and pH.
An example is a urinalysis, a test that utilizes light microscopy on samples. Another type of test is a urinary cast, which involves detecting details like the numbers and types of materials and components. Such information is needed to diagnose more advanced diseases.
The human urine is composed primarily of water, but it also contains compounds namely urea, chloride, sodium, potassium, and creatinine. The presence of other substances in the urine can be an indicator of disease.
Injuries and infections are also determining factors of the disorder as they tend to heighten the risk of developing kidney disease. For instance, oliguria is a condition caused by kidney damage, associated with the symptom of releasing extremely little volume of urine. Polyuria, on the other hand, is triggered by diabetes and has the symptom of releasing high amounts of urine. Another condition, dysuria, is caused by urinary tract infections and characterized by difficulty urinating.
There are specific tests for determining whether the components of urine are at their right levels. This article will be discussing the substance creatinine, its normal range, and some tips for regulating levels of creatinine.
How to Determine Creatinine Levels
Creatinine clearance is a test for measuring creatinine levels. Usually, results are provided in grams per day (g/day). Resource centers state that the normal creatinine range is dependent on factors like age, gender, muscle mass, stature, and ethnicity. However, in general, the normal creatinine level for adult men is 0.8 to 1.8 g/day, and for adult women is 0.6 to 1.6 g/day.
Physicians often ask a patient to undergo a creatinine test when they aim to determine if the kidneys are functioning properly, as high creatinine levels in either the blood or urine can be a sign for kidney problems.
But What Is Creatinine?
Creatinine is a substance created by the muscles from synthesizing the compound creatine. This waste product is filtered from the kidneys and released into the urine. An article reviewed by registered nurse Carissa Stephens explains that creatinine levels relatively are constant for each individual. That is because creatinine levels are dependent on genetic factors and the overall health condition of one’s kidneys. The amount of creatinine removed from the blood highly depends on both the rate at which blood is transported to the kidneys and the kidneys’ filtration ability.
A creatinine clearance test measures creatinine levels in a urine sample from a 24-hour collection and a blood sample drawn from the arm. The determined levels are used to calculate the amount of creatinine extracted from the blood and secreted into the urine. This calculation also enables an assessment of the amount of blood filtered by the kidneys in a 24-hour period.
Creatinine clearance is also a good method of calculating the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) which refers to the volume of blood filtered by the kidneys per minute. A decrease in the GFR can be an indicator of kidney damage considering that it may slow circulation, which consequently lowers the amount of creatinine taken from the blood and passed to the urine.
Factors Affecting Creatinine Levels
Does having a high level of creatinine directly signal kidney disease? Although having high amounts of creatinine in your urine is likely an indicator of health problems, there are other factors at play when it comes to creatinine levels.
- Muscle Mass: The creatinine level of muscular people can be naturally higher than the normal range. Having low muscle mass can also cause the creatinine level to be lower.
- Ethnicity: Experts assert that individuals from certain ethnic backgrounds can have a higher creatinine level than normal.
- Diet: Red meat contains creatine and cooking breaks it down into creatinine. Thus, eating cooked meat can heighten creatinine levels even of people who are otherwise healthy.
How to Lower Creatinine Levels
- Lower consumption of red meat: People who eat large quantities of cooked meat are proven to have higher creatinine levels. Therefore, to address the issue, it’s suggested to reduce the daily intake of cooked meat and consume protein-rich plant foods instead.
- Increase intake of fiber: A review published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has reported that people with chronic kidney disease had lower creatinine levels as a result of adding fiber to their diet.
- Take chitosan supplements: Chitosan is a common ingredient in weight loss supplements that are also designed to lower cholesterol levels. A study analyzed in an article by Medical News Today has found that chitosan significantly reduced creatinine levels in laboratory rats with kidney failure.
- Regulate daily intake of liquids: Dehydration can significantly heighten amounts of creatinine in the body. However, people with kidney problems also tend to experience adverse effects with too much intake of liquids. It’s therefore advised that you talk to your physician to discuss the appropriate amount of liquid you must drink daily.
- Avoid extreme physical activities: Creatinine is a product of muscle activities. A study conducted in 2012 has reported that strenuous exercise can cause a temporary spike in creatinine levels. Therefore, if you have a high creatinine level, avoid resistance exercise and weight training. Instead, opt for low-to-moderate exercises like yoga, swimming, bodyweight exercises, and walking.
When to Worry About Creatinine Levels
If you have a high creatinine level, it’s important to coordinate with a medical professional to rule out other probable causes. However, if you are experiencing other symptoms that cause discomfort, the likelihood of disease is higher. It’s recommended that you ask for a general evaluation.