Serum Creatinine Overview

Serum Creatinine Test Results

Serum creatinine levels can vary according to a person's size, muscle mass and gender. Women have lower serum creatinine levels than men because they have less muscle mass. Serum creatinine test results can also vary depending on the laboratory performing the test and which lab method was used.

Typical serum creatinine ranges are 0.5 to 1.0 milligrams per deciliter for women and 0.7 to 1.2 mg/dl for men. A serum creatinine level of 2.0 mg/dl may indicate normal kidney function in a male bodybuilder, but 0.7 mg/dl can indicate significant renal disease in a frail old woman. The ability to look at changing levels over time is more informative for patients and doctors than is a single measurement at one point in time. For example, a serum creatinine level of 1 mg/dl might be considered normal -- unless it recently increased from 0.6, which would make it very abnormal.

The following conditions may cause serum creatinine levels to be higher than normal:

  • Kidneys that aren't functioning normally
  • A block in the flow of urine (such as with an enlarged prostate gland or a kidney stone)
  • A kidney infection
  • Heart failure
  • Dehydration
  • Decreased blood flow to the kidneys
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy

The following conditions may cause serum creatinine levels to be lower than normal:

  • A muscle disease, such as myasthenia gravis or muscular dystrophy
  • A diet with too little protein

The links on the next page will give you more information about kidney disease and heart disease.

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