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Kidney Diseases

Creatinine Serum

03/05/1999

Question:

Is a blood test check of Creatinine Serum at 1.5 mg/dl considered high? What does this number tell my doctor and how does he use it for my health care?

Answer:

The serum creatinine level is an indication of the number of functioning units in the kidney. Creatinine is a chemical produced with normal muscle activity (metabolism), which occurs at a constant rate in adults. Creatinine is removed from the body by the kidneys. If there is not enough functioning kidney tissue the serum level of creatinine will go up. The normal level of creatinine is dependant on a person's muscle mass. Therefore, a professional male weight lifter will have a normal serum level of creatinine much greater than a small woman with a desk job. A serum creatinine of 1.5 mg/dl would be normal for the weight lifter. But, could be almost twice the normal level for the woman. The serum creatinine level can give the doctor a rough estimate of kidney function. In a small woman a serum creatinine of 1.5 mg/dl could indicate as much as a 40-50% reduction in kidney function.

There is an excellent presentation of the relationship of serum creatinine to kidney function on the website for the National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney diseases. Check it out.

Related Resources:

National Institute Diabetes, Digestive Disease and Kidney

For more information:

Go to the Kidney Diseases health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Philip W Hall, 3rd, MD Philip W Hall, 3rd, MD
Formerly, Professor Emeritus of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University