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Creatine / Creatinine

Creatine and Creatinine

Creatine is a chemical produced by amino acids in the body.  Creatine functions to supply energy to the muscles and other cells.  As creatine performs its job in the body it produces a waste product called creatinine.  The creatinine then travels through the blood stream until it reaches the kidneys, at which point it is filtered out of the blood and passed out of the body in urine.  The kidneys are wholly responsibly for the removal of creatinine from the body.  Therefore, a creatinine blood test or a creatine blood test can provide a lot of information about kidney functioning.  The blood test can also provide insight on muscle health and conditions that are related to kidney or muscle health. 

Kidney Health

The kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste created by the metabolizing process.  If the kidneys are not working, waste can be left in the blood and vital nutrients may not be properly reabsorbed.  Possible signs of kidney failure are dark urine, reduced urine output, shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion, and fatigue.  Symptoms of kidney failure should be taken seriously.  If detected early enough, kidney damage can be stopped and in some cases even reversed.  However, if not treated, kidney failure can lead to seizures, coma, and death.  A creatine blood test is an easy and affordable way to quickly assess kidney health.  Kidney health checks should routinely be performed as part of overall health screening, and should be tested more frequently in people who have risk factors for kidney disease. 

Muscle Health

There are hundreds of different muscles in the human body.  Muscles that attach to bones are called skeletal muscles and allow individuals to move around and control their body’s movements.  Muscle-related disorders limit one’s mobility with symptoms such as muscle weakness or paralysis.  People with weak or damaged muscles are less likely to have stability on their feet and are more likely to fall and injure themselves.  The risk of being injured when one falls is also increased because weak muscles provide less support for the joints.  If one’s muscles are not in good health they may require extra energy and may use up a large amount of the creatine in the blood.  This could decrease level of creatine while increasing the level of creatinine.

Blood Tests

The kidneys are supposed to remove creatinine from the blood.  If creatinine blood test results show abnormally high levels of creatinine in the blood, then the kidneys are likely not working at full capacity.  This can be very dangerous and have especially negative effects for individuals who already have a metabolizing-related condition such as diabetes.  Another cause of abnormally high blood test results is the rapid breaking down and loss of muscle fibers.  If the muscles are dying quickly, there may be an excess of unused creatine in the blood.  Most of the muscle conditions that relate to creatinine and creatine, however, cause the levels or creatinine to decrease, as can be seen in conditions such as muscular dystrophy.   

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