Creatinine, A Waste By-product We Can Live Without
Creatinine is a waste by-product that needs to be tested to see if the kidneys have been damaged. Are you curious as I am as to what this waste is? I know you are because I wouldn't want to touch it with a ten-foot pole. And neither do you. Of this I am sure.
Okay, here it goes. Creatinine is the waste by-product of creatine. Creatine? But that's another word I don't know. I know what you're thinking, that I'm playing games with you. Honest, I'm not. You should know me by now, that my main preoccupation is to make the life of diabetics easier and more comfortable.
Creatine is a the kind of protein that provides energy for the contraction of the muscle. It is normal for the blood to generate a small amount of this but with excess glucose getting in the way, this waste by-product's level rises to above normal. And you know what this means, right? It is a sign that there is damage in the kidneys.
The good news is that there are blood tests to assess the functioning of the kidneys. They calculate the levels of liquefied salts called electrolytes and some waste products. For some conditions, the doctor may ask for a chemical analysis of the blood.
Sometimes this could be a 24-hour collection of urine. And what do they do with this? They calculate the clearance of the waste products from the kidneys. This can alert both you and your doctor that the kidneys may not be able to function properly which in doctor speak is called renal insufficiency.
When the tests show the levels to be out of the normal range, we know the kidneys may not be functioning well. The waste products that are most often tested are the creatinine (a waste product that's created when the muscles are used) and the BUN, the acronym for blood urea nitrogen.
The serum creatinine test is a blood test that measures the level of this waste-product in the blood. It can give an alert to possible kidney problems. You see, if there is damage in the kidneys they will not be able to get rid of as much of this waste product in the blood. I am sorry to say that the higher this level is, the more advanced the kidney problem.
Now let's look at the normal values of this waste by-product. These values vary depending on mass, sex and other factors. Your doctor can tell you what's normal for you. Remember, too, that laboratories may have slightly different normal values, but here are the values to consider as starting points:
- 0.7 to 1.2 mg/dL for women
- 0.9 to 1.4 mg/dL for men
Now am I crazy to tell you all these? Why am I bothering you with all these information? It is because I believe that knowledge is power and this may empower you to ask for a serum creatinine test once a year. And the doctor may even recommend more than once a year if you have some kidney problems or taking medication that could harm the kidneys.
There is another benefit to knowing your level of this waste by-product. And it is, drum roll please, it will help determine what decisions to make regarding the medical care you receive. Knowing what medications to take is important. And so is the decision to how aggressive you should be in your effort to lower the blood pressure and keep tight control of the glucose level.
Since good care can spell the difference in slowing down the kidney problem, and an eGER test of creatinine will show how well the kidneys are working, ask the doctor if you need this test once a year along with A1C level twice a year, and blood pressure.
Find out from him whether it will be good for you to take an ACE inhibitor or ARB and have the amount of protein in your urine measured at least once a year. Work also with the health care provider about meal planning especially if you have to reduce the protein intake, exercise, monitoring the blood sugar, medicines and insulin injections.
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