Nutrition

Low Creatinine: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Low creatinine

Our kidneys serve as incredibly effective filters, removing waste and harmful chemicals from the body. And that while reintroducing vitamins, glucose, hormones, amino acids, and other essential nutrients into the bloodstream. 

They keep your blood’s sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium levels in a healthy range, preventing an electrolyte imbalance as a result.

One of the waste products that the kidneys remove is creatinine. Several tests can measure the creatinine in your blood and urine to diagnose if your kidney is working well.

But there’s more damage having an unhealthy amount of creatinine in your bloodstream or urine can do. 

We’ll get to that and other questions you may have. But first, let’s understand what creatinine really is.

What Is Creatinine?

We all have this amino acid called Creatine in our body that’s made by the liver. 

Creatinine is a waste compound of this amino acid that your muscles make when they break down on a daily basis due to regular muscle contractions. 

After the muscles metabolism, creatinine enters our bloodstream. This blood goes to the kidneys, which filter creatinine and remove it through urine. Thus, helping maintain a healthy amount of this compound in the body.

What Does Creatinine Do In The Body?

Creatinine is a commonly found compound in your muscle cells. It acts as a source of energy when your muscles undergo physical activity. 

The amount of creatinine found in tests is often an indicator of kidney function and muscle mass. 

In numbers, if a man has 0.6 and 1.2 mg/dl creatinine in a urine test (0.5 and 1.1 mg/dl for women), he most likely has healthy kidneys. That’s because healthy kidneys filter out creatinine much more effectively and pass it as a waste product in urine.

But low creatinine levels can cause several problems like those below. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Creatinine?

To understand the signs of low creatinine in your body, it’s crucial to understand the underlying causes first. 

However, here are some of the common symptoms:

  • Muscle stiffness and pain that restricts movement.
  • Dehydration (with related symptoms, like dark urine, dry mouth, dry skin, headaches, etc.)
  • Jaundice 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Bloody stools 
  • Increased fatigue
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles

What Are The Causes Of Low Creatinine Found In Tests?

  1. Muscular problems: Low muscle mass, whether it’s from age, a low-protein diet, severe weight loss, or malnutrition can lead to low creatinine levels. These problems can be in the form of Muscular dystrophy, a muscle disease. 
  2. Liver diseases: The liver is responsible for making creatine (which produces creatinine). With liver diseases like jaundice, it’s tough for the liver to do so. If these diseases stay untreated, they may even lead to kidney failure.

 

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    How Can Dehydration Cause Low Creatinine? 

    Dehydration can be due to many reasons like your medications, cold sweats, excessive workouts, and pregnancy. 

    For a pregnant woman, the risk of dehydration is high because she goes through the stage of vomiting and has to urinate more often than the average person.

    All these can lead to an electrolyte imbalance and a lack of fluids in the body, which further leads to low creatinine. 

    Firstly, electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus are essential to avoid kidney failure. Their imbalance can increase the risk of damage and lead to severe conditions like bone demineralization and muscle wasting.

    Secondly, the lack of fluids in the body means the kidney experiences reduced blood flow. This means less blood is filtered, so less waste (creatinine) gets passed through the urine. 

    Also, dehydration reduces urination. Thus, lowering the removal of waste further. 

    What Are Normal Creatinine Levels By Age?

    For Adults :

    Age (In Years) Approximate Creatinine Level (mg/dL)
    Male Female
    18 to 41 0.6 – 1.2 0.5 – 1.0
    41 to 61  0.6 – 1.3 0.5 – 1.1
    61+ 0.7 – 1.3 0.5 – 1.2

     

    For Children (7):

    Age (In Years) Approximate Creatinine Level (mg/dL)
    Male Female
    < 1 0.39 0.39
    1 – 2  0.42 0.42
    2 – 3  0.46 0.45
    3 – 4  0.49 0.48
    4 – 5  0.51 0.50
    5 – 6  0.53 0.52
    6 – 7  0.57 0.56
    7 – 8  0.59 0.60
    8 – 9  0.61 0.61
    9 – 10  0.63 0.62
    10 – 11  0.68 0.63
    11 – 12  0.71 0.70
    12 – 13  0.78 0.73
    13 – 14  0.85 0.74
    14 – 15  0.94 0.79
    15 – 16  1.02 0.81
    16 – 17  1.05 0.82
    17 – 18  1.05 0.82

     

    How Is Low Creatinine Treated?

    Lifestyle changes like having a protein-rich diet and drinking enough water (say 8 glasses) can help maintain a normal level of creatinine in the body.

    If you are vegetarian, you can depend on tofu and lentils added to vegetables in your meals. And avoid overhydration as it can lead to dehydration.

    Additionally, physical therapy, like strength training exercises, can increase your muscle mass, ultimately increasing your creatinine levels in the body.

    If you are pregnant and your creatinine levels are low, don’t worry! They will get back to their normal state after delivery. If you still want to take some action against it, you can try light exercises like yoga asanas. 

    Conclusion

    Creatinine is a waste product that the kidney filters from our bloodstream. Low muscle mass, dehydration, and liver diseases can lower the amount of creatinine that’s filtered. Thus, leading to issues like bloody stools and excessive fatigue.

    To treat low creatinine you must add some exercise to your daily routine and make sure you are drinking enough water. 

    You can also try electrolyte drinks to help balance sodium, potassium, and other minerals in your body to prevent kidney damage.

    Then follow your doctor’s advice.

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    FAQs

    What If Creatinine Is High? How Can We Lower Creatinine Levels Naturally?

    High creatinine also indicates kidney diseases. To lower creatinine naturally and avoid such issues, you should limit your intake of protein and salt. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Eat more fiber. And talk to your doctor about your medications and water intake.

    What Level Of Creatinine Indicates Kidney Failure?

    An early sign that the kidneys are not functioning properly may be a creatinine level that is higher than 1.2 for women and greater than 1.4 for men. According to Kidney.org, Creatinine levels in the blood rise as the extent of kidney disease increases. (8)

    What Is The Creatinine Blood Test?

    It is a simple blood test that detects the levels of creatinine in your blood. The results for this test are normal when it is between 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dL in males and between 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL in females.

    Why Do Creatinine Levels Matter?

    Creatinine is a waste product made by your muscles as a result of the normal functioning of your body. It constantly supplies energy to your muscle cells to keep them active. A shift in creatinine levels (high or low) indicates poor kidney function. A creatinine test is a determinant of how well your kidneys and muscles are performing.

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