CKD Creatinine Lab Values, What You Need to Know!
If you’re dealing with symptoms of kidney disease or impaired kidney function, there are a few tests that your doctor may perform. Additionally, if you are diagnosed with CKD or chronic kidney disease, labs are part of the process of monitoring your ongoing kidney health. It’s important to know what they’re measuring with these tests with a blood sample or urine and what the results mean. One of the tests you will most likely take is a Creatinine ratio. Let’s look at what the test measures and why it’s important.
If you want to learn more about the different lab tests, what they mean at each stage of CKD, and how you can improve your kidney health, check out our course about kidney disease labs by clicking here: Understanding Kidney Test Results
Do You Need to Get Tested for CKD?
It’s estimated that more than 37 million Americans have Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD. Because your kidneys are essential to your overall health, including but not limited to your heart health, it’s important to know if you should get tested. If you have a family history of CKD, then you should get tested. If you have diabetes, get tested. And if you have heart disease or high blood pressure, then CKD testing is recommended. There are different tests for diagnosis versus monitoring your kidney disease.
What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Kidney Disease?
Your doctor or health care provider will likely run a few tests to diagnose and monitor kidney disease. They include GFR or glomerular filtration rate, which is a blood test that checks how effectively your kidneys are filtering your blood. They’ll also do urine tests for albumin. Albumin is a protein that will show up in your urine if the kidneys are damaged and unable to filter it.
What Tests Are Used to Monitor Kidney Disease?
Your doctor may run these next two blood tests when you’re diagnosed with CKD, and as they monitor your kidney function. Your doctor will also likely run a full blood panel, but what they’re specifically looking at are things like your serum creatinine level and your BUN. Creatinine is a waste product that comes from the normal daily breakdown of your muscles, and may be looked as a creatinine ratio as well. If it’s present in higher amounts in your blood, it could be an indicator of kidney disease. BUN, Blood Urea Nitrogen, is another test. This one is generated from breaking down your food. As kidney function declines, BUN rises.
What Is a Normal Range for Creatinine Levels?
It should be noted that creatinine can be tested both in your blood as well as a urine sample. Normal blood serum levels are 0.74 to 1.35 mg/dL for adult men and 0.59 to 1.04 mg/dL for adult women. However, there are several factors that can impact your test results including hydration and race.
Do Normal Creatinine Lab Values Vary by Age?
In addition to hydration and race, your normal creatinine levels can be impacted by your age and your gender. As you age, your creatinine levels tend to go up. Additionally, if you are muscular, you may have higher levels. Remember that creatinine is a waste product from muscle use.
Things You Need to Know About Chronic Kidney Disease & Creatinine Lab Values
Blood tests can often leave people feeling anxious and on edge. Take a deep breath. Your test results can tell you several things, but before you jump to any conclusions make sure you understand what can influence your levels, and what your next steps should be if your creatinine levels are high.
What is a High Creatinine Level for Kidney Function?
A high creatinine level would be anything over 1.35 mg/dL for men and 1.04 mg/dL for women. However, remember that age, muscle mass, and hydration can impact your results. If you are dehydrated when you take the test, your creatinine levels could be abnormally high.
Which Lab Results Would Indicate Renal Failure?
Doctors don’t diagnose renal, or kidney failure based on creatinine levels alone. Instead, they use that lab result in an equation called the GFR or glomerular filtration rate. Your GFR is calculated by using your creatinine levels as well as your age, gender, and race. Your weight may also be part of the calculation. A GFR between 60 and 89 is stage two CKD. Above 90 is a normal level and indicates healthy kidneys. A GFR of 15 or below indicates kidney failure.
What is the Creatinine Level for Stage 3 Kidney Disease?
Keeping in mind that creatinine levels increase as you age, there are levels that can indicate advanced kidney disease. For example, if a male younger than 40 years old has a creatinine level above 1.4 mg/dl, then that indicates a possible stage 3 kidney disease diagnosis. For women younger than 40, that level would be 1.09 mg/dl.
It’s important to remember that creatinine levels are part of an equation that estimates the function of your kidneys and your stage of kidney disease. If you have high creatinine levels on your blood test results, there’s a bit more work to be done to determine if you’re dealing with kidney disease. Please talk to your doctor to learn the next steps and to better understand your specific test results.
How Do I Know If My Kidney Disease is Getting Worse?
If you have abnormal lab results or lab results that indicate kidney disease, your doctor will likely order routine labs. These labs may be scheduled every six months to every year depending on your level of kidney disease. If your GFR decreases, and your creatinine levels increase, over time, that is an indicator that your kidney disease is getting worse.
What Should You Do if Your Renal Failure is Worsening?
If your kidney health is worsening, it’s important to take positive action. In addition to medications that your doctor or healthcare provider may prescribe, there are many lifestyle changes that you can embrace to slow down and often prevent further kidney damage. Your diet and nutrition do play a key role in the health of your kidneys and your doctor may put you on a renal diet. High blood sugar, high blood pressure, and some medications can also worsen kidney function so it’s important to get these under control.