The Creat blood test is one of several tests that are used to measure a person’s overall kidney function. It is often ordered as part of the basic metabolic panel or a comprehensive metabolic panel. These testing groups are regularly ordered to evaluate organ functions to get an overall picture of a person’s health. It is often part of an annual exam, but will also be a blood test that is ordered for those that are chronically ill without explanation.
The Creat blood test also helps medical providers be able to accurately monitor people with an underlying disease, such as diabetes, to determine if disease progression is affecting the kidneys. They may be used as part of the process to diagnose a medical condition or may be used to track the effectiveness of a treatment plan.
What Does the Creat Blood Test Do?
The goal of the Creat blood test is to get a measurement of the creatinine clearance that is occurring. This helps doctors be able to see how well a person’s kidneys are doing at filtering the smaller particles that come out of the blood.
It is not uncommon for a Creat blood test to be ordered with a urine creatinine test. Because these small particles are removed from the body regularly throughout the day, a 24 hour series of testing and random sampling is used with the blood tests to determine what a person’s creatinine ratio happens to be. High levels of creatinine and proteins in the urine can be a future indicator of progressing kidney failure or a sign of cardiovascular disease development.
When Will the Creat Blood Test Be Ordered?
Most people see their medical provider when they notice a particular change in their urine that does not go away after a day or so. Urine that looks like coffee or chocolate milk, is bloody, or is very foamy is of greatest concern. People who don’t urinate as often as they usually do, have flank pain below the ribs, and high blood pressure may also have this blood test ordered to rule out problems with kidney functionality.
What Do the Test Results Mean?
When there are higher than normal levels of creatinine in the blood, then it suggests to a medical provider that there is some condition or disease that has started to affect the functionality of the kidneys. These issues may be temporary and medically insignificant or could be chronic and potentially life threatening. Here are just a few of the possible outcomes of an abnormal Creat blood test.
- A swelling of the blood vessels that lead to the kidneys. This may be caused by injury, infection, or certain autoimmune diseases.
- A bacterial infection that has settled into the kidneys.
- Toxins or drugs that have caused cell death within the kidneys.
- The presence of a kidney stone, urinary obstructions, or a diseased prostate.
Reduced blood flow because of dehydration, cardiovascular disease, or diabetic complications.
Sometimes a recent injury to a person’s muscles may also cause creatinine levels to spike. That’s because this is the energy provider to the muscles. There is a finite amount of energy the muscles have and once it is expended, soreness and fatigue sets in.
What About Low Levels of Creatinine?
If a person’s Creat blood test results come back as being lower than normal, then there is usually not any reason to worry about them. It isn’t a common result, but most often occurs when there is a decreased level of muscle mass for some reason. If a leg is cast and must be inactive, for example, that person’s calf muscles will begin to atrophy and this would cause lower levels of creatinine.
There are supplements that can artificially raise creatinine levels in the blood. If you are taking any of these supplements, be sure to speak with your doctor about it immediately. You may be asked to avoid your supplements for a specific period of time so that an accurate blood test result can be achieved.
People who are on a high protein diet may see creatinine levels that are up to 30% higher than normal.
Having an abnormal result does not necessarily mean there is a problem with a person’s kidneys.
An entire evaluation of specific symptoms must be compared to a personal medical history to determine what the Creat blood test results mean. Malnutrition can just as likely cause problematic results as kidney disease. Use this guide to ask your medical provider questions about your test results so that you can achieve your health goals now and into the future.