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Creatinine is a metabolic product of creatine, which is one of the most important energy sources in muscle cells. Therefore, we can say that creatinine is a product of muscle metabolism. Changes in creatinine levels can be caused by many reasons, some of which can be results of serious conditions of multiple organs.

Here is an evaluation of the causes of increased blood creatinine levels.

Normal Laboratory Findings

Normal range of blood creatinine level depends on muscle mass and it is different in men and women. In men, normal values are from 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL, while women have lower levels with 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL. These are provisional referent values, because different laboratories using different techniques may provide different results. Therefore, each laboratory should provide its own referent values.

Urinary Tract Obstruction

Any obstruction of the urinary tract prevents urine evacuation, can cause increase in creatinine blood levels. This includes complicated and chronic urinary infections, kidney stones, inborn malformations of the urinary tract, etc. This is because creatinine is almost entirely eliminated from the circulation through urine. In case of urinary tract obstruction, detailed examination by a urologist is required.

Kidney Disease

Any disease of the kidneys that damages their excretory function, especially the parameter called glomerular filtration rate, may limit the excretion of creatinine, thus producing higher creatinine blood levels. The most common of these conditions is chronic kidney failure, which mostly affects older persons with a long term history of high blood pressure. Other kidney diseases which can affect kidney function include glomerulonephritis, nephritic syndrome, and kidney cancer.

Pseudo-Increased Creatinine level

An increase in creatinine levels can appear in your results after dehydration. If there is less water content in the blood, the blood in more dense and many parameters may seem falsely increased. In the same manner, if the body is overhydrated, creatinine levels can appear lower, as the creatinine is dissolved in large amounts of body fluids.

Muscle Diseases

Creatinine levels can be increased during some diseases of skeletal muscles. Rabdomyolysis is a disease that manifests with progressive destruction of muscle fibers. Destruction of muscles leads to release of creatinine into the bloodstream and subsequent increase of creatinine blood levels. Intense workout targeting large muscle groups also makes micro-injuries to the muscles and increases creatinine blood levels.

Mechanical injury of the muscles produces increased creatinine levels by the same mechanism.


Certain medications can increase creatinine levels, either by damaging kidney function or by producing muscle injury. They include ACE inhibitors, Cyclosporine, chemotherapy drugs, etc. Always consult your doctor when planning to take any medications if you have any kidney issues.

Nephrologists know that a lot of things can affect your creatinine blood levels to be increased. Therefore, they usually do not take it as a very significant finding in absence of other abnormal findings and symptoms. However, persons with elevated creatinine level should undergo detailed examination.

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