A creatinine test is used to examine kidney function. Creatinine is waste given off by the body. It is a breakdown of a naturally occurring amino acid, known as creatine. This amino acid is found in the muscles to produce energy and is found in meats as well. The kidneys are used to remove creatinine from the body through urination.
Each time the muscles are used, some creatinine is released. For this reason, small amounts of creatinine are typically present in the body. If a person has a problem which keeps the kidneys from functioning properly, his or her creatinine levels may be unusually high. Dangerously high levels of creatinine can lead to kidney failure. A creatinine test may be given to monitor levels so that measures may be taken to prevent it before an organ is permanently damaged.
If you have a reason to suspect that you may have a kidney disease, you should take a creatinine test. One of the foremost symptoms of kidney disease can be a change in urination frequency. A person may experience decreased urination, painful urination or frequent urination. There may be some additional symptoms such as weight loss, flank pain, fatigue and a loss of appetite. If a person's kidneys are not functioning as normal, he or she may also experience swelling in the body, especially in the legs.
You should also take a creatinine test if you have already been diagnosed with a disease in the kidneys. The test will be used to see how well the kidneys are working in the presence of a disease. Most people with a kidney disease will be on one or more medications. Additionally, these individuals may also be on dialysis. Under these circumstances, creatinine tests may be done frequently to ensure any established medical intervention to treat an existing disease is working.
If you suffer recurring urinary tract infections, a creatinine test may reveal whether or not the kidneys have been damaged by the frequent infections. Individuals with certain health conditions not related to the kidneys should take this test as well. This is especially true if you have a condition known to damage the kidneys, such as diabetes and hypertension or high blood pressure. Certain blood disorders may also affect the function of the kidneys.
Most people will have blood drawn after deciding to take a creatinine test. If you choose to have a creatinine clearance test, both blood and urine may be obtained. This type of test will calculate the amount of creatinine in both the blood and the urine. A test revealing elevated creatinine levels may suggest a kidney disease, infection or kidney stone. Although, the elevation may be due to a benign cause, such as medications the person is taking at the time.