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What is Creatinine?

What is Creatinine?Creatinine is a breakdown product of creatine phosphate in muscle, and is usually produced at a fairly constant rate by the body (depending on muscle mass).

Serum creatinine (a blood measurement) is an important indicator of renal health because it is an easily measured byproduct of muscle metabolism that is excreted unchanged by the kidneys. Creatinine itself is produced via a biological system involving creatine, phosphocreatine, and adenosine triphosphate (the body's immediate energy supply).

Creatinine is removed from the blood chiefly by the kidneys, primarily by glomerular filtration, but also by proximal tubular secretion. Little or no tubular reabsorption of creatinine occurs. If the filtration in the kidney is deficient, creatinine blood levels rise. Therefore, creatinine levels in blood and urine may be used to calculate the creatinine clearance (CrCl), which correlates with the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Blood creatinine levels may also be used alone to calculate the estimated GFR (eGFR).

What is Creatinine

The GFR is clinically important because it is a measurement of renal function. However, in cases of severe renal dysfunction, the CrCl rate will overestimate the GFR because hyper secretion of creatinine by the proximal tubules will account for a larger fraction of the total creatinine cleared.

Each day, 1-2% of muscle creatine is converted to creatinine. Men tend to have higher levels of creatinine than women because, in general, they have a greater mass of skeletal muscle. Increased dietary intake of creatine or eating a lot of protein (like meat) can increase daily creatinine excretion.

Measuring serum creatinine is a simple test, and it is the most commonly used indicator of renal function.

A rise in blood creatinine level is observed only with marked damage to functioning nephrons. Therefore, this test is unsuitable for detecting early-stage kidney disease. A better estimation of kidney function is given by calculating the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). eGFR can be accurately calculated using serum creatinine concentration and some or all of the following variables: sex, age, weight, and race, as suggested without a 24-hour urine collection.

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