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High Creatinine Levels - Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on Aug 09, 2021 and last reviewed on Jun 30, 2022   -  4 min read


When the kidneys are not functioning as they should, there can be a rise in the creatinine levels in the blood and urine. Several factors can be responsible for high creatinine levels. Read this article to know more about high creatinine levels, their causes, symptoms, and treatment.

High Creatinine Levels - Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment


Creatinine is a waste product produced as a result of muscle metabolism. High creatinine levels indicate several medical conditions, or it can also be a temporary byproduct of certain lifestyle conditions. Most people are not sure when to worry or what creatinine levels can indicate a serious underlying medical condition. This article will guide you through high creatinine levels, their causes, and treatment.

What Is Creatinine?

Creatinine is a waste product that comes from the body. It comes from the normal wear and tear of the muscles. And the kidneys usually filter these creatinine and other waste products from the blood, and later it is excreted from the body through urine. It is one way to determine the functioning of the kidneys. If the creatinine levels are high in the blood or urine, then it indicates an underlying health condition.

Having high levels of creatinine is not necessarily a harmful condition, but it can be a marker of other health conditions.

What Is the Normal Creatinine Level?

Creatinine levels may vary according to age, sex, race, hydration, or body mass.

Adult males: 0.6 to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Adult females: 0.5 to 1.1 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Low Vs. High Creatinine Levels:

The causes for low creatinine levels differ from the causes that result in high creatinine levels. Low creatinine levels can be caused by muscle disease, liver disease, excess loss of water, pregnancy, and some medications.

In What All Conditions Can the Creatinine Levels Be High?

Usually, high levels of creatinine indicate that the kidneys are not functioning properly. There are many possible causes for high levels of creatinine. They include:

Apart from the kidney, many other factors contribute to high creatinine levels. They include:

- Antibiotics like Aminoglycosides, Vancomycin, etc.

- ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors.

- Proton pump inhibitors.

- Diuretics.

- Certain chemotherapy drugs.

- Lithium.

Some health conditions can result in high creatinine levels like:

What Are the Symptoms Commonly Seen When Creatinine Levels Are High?

The symptoms depend on the cause that is resulting in high creatinine levels.


Drugs like antibiotics, diuretics, ACE inhibitors can result in high creatinine levels. The symptoms include:

Infection In Kidney:

It is also called pyelonephritis. This kidney infection can happen when bacteria or virus infects the parts of the urinary tract before it enters the kidneys. The symptoms include:


Glomerulonephritis is a condition where the parts of the kidneys that help in the filtration of the blood get inflamed. It is caused by infections or any autoimmune diseases like lupus, etc. The symptoms include:


Diabetes is linked to kidney disease. Symptoms include:

High Blood Pressure:

High blood pressure can weaken or result in damage to the blood vessels that are present around the kidneys, later affecting the function of the kidney resulting in high creatinine levels. It normally shows no symptoms.

Cardiac Disease:

Heart diseases such as congestive cardiac failure, atherosclerosis can affect the blood flow to the kidneys resulting in impaired kidney function. The symptoms include:

Kidney Failure:

Kidney failure is one of the most common causes resulting in high creatinine levels. Symptoms of kidney failure include:

How Are High Creatinine Levels Diagnosed?

Usually, the blood samples or urine are collected to determine the levels of creatinine.

In this test, blood is collected from the vein in the arm and is analyzed for creatinine levels. It is also known as the serum creatinine test. Creatinine levels above the normal range are taken as high creatinine levels.

Either a single urine sample is collected, or a 24-hour sample may be collected. A 24-hour sample means collecting the urine throughout 24 hours.

How Is High Creatinine Level Treated?

The treatment for high creatinine levels depends on the underlying cause. Before treating high creatinine levels, the cause needs to be addressed and treated.


Creatinine levels vary according to the cause underlying it. For those people who are experiencing a temporary increase in the creatinine levels, the high levels should generally resolve following prompt treatment of the underlying condition. Proper treatment can reduce the risk of any kidney damage and can more likely hasten the recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Foods to Avoid During Raised Creatinine Levels?

Cooked red meat contains creatine which on heating produces creatinine. Therefore, cooked red meat should be avoided. Also, fish products and dairy products should be avoided, which have high creatinine.


What Levels of Creatinine Symbolize Kidney Malfunction?

Creatinine levels above 1.3 mg/dL are considered high. However, creatinine values above 5.0 mg/dL in adults and 2.0 mg/dL in infants are considered abnormally high and signify severe kidney disorder.


What Does an Increased Creatinine Level Indicate?

Raised creatinine levels are an indicator of kidney failure or impaired kidney function. Kidney helps in clearing the level of creatinine in blood by excreting them. If these kidneys lose their function due to kidney failure, the creatinine is retained, raising its levels in the blood.


Is High Creatinine a Problem of Concern?

Increased creatinine levels is an alarming sign of kidney failure or impaired kidney function, which needs immediate medical intervention.


Can High Creatinine Levels Be Reversed?

If the high creatinine levels are due to lifestyle activities, dietary factors, or medications, then lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and stopping medications help reduce the levels of creatinine.


Can Creatinine Levels Be Lowered by Drinking Water?

Although drinking water helps reduce the level of creatinine in the blood, it is not of much help in treating the underlying kidney disease; therefore, it is not advisable to force yourself with excessive water drinking.


How Can We Reduce Creatinine Levels?

- Avoiding red meat.
- Drinking adequate water.
- Limiting the intake of protein.
- Consuming a fiber-rich diet.
- Reduced salt intake.
- Avoiding NSAIDs.
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking.


At What Level of Creatinine Is Dialysis Required?

Dialysis is required if the creatinine levels are highly increased above 5.0 mg/dL, and kidney function goes below 15%.


What Are the Medications That Increase Creatinine Levels?

Cimetidine, Pyrimethamine, Trimethoprim, Phenacemide, Corticosteroids, salicylates, and active vitamin D metabolites increase serum creatinine levels without altering the kidney function or glomerular filtration.


What Food Is Recommended for High Creatinine Levels?

Fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and adequate water intake are the recommended diet for increased creatinine levels.


What Fruit Is Good for Maintaining Creatinine Levels?

Grapes, apples, and cranberries are the fruits that can be taken when the creatinine level is increased because they have low potassium.

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Last reviewed at:
30 Jun 2022  -  4 min read




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