Low Creatinine: Causes and Risks

Creatinine is a waste product generated by the process of muscle metabolism from creatine, an important molecule that provides your muscles with energy. Your body gets rid of this chemical waste through the kidneys to which it travels through your bloodstream. Your kidneys act as a filter and remove a major part of this chemical with urine. Low creatinine levels are therefore normal and signify that this particular system functions properly.

In general, your creatinine levels should be stable from day to day if your muscle mass remains constant. This will change if you suddenly gain weight or start exercising. In this case, you need to be extremely careful as a sudden boost of creatinine can affect your kidneys negatively.

It is advisable to take a creatinine blood test at least once a year, to ensure that your kidneys are healthy and doing their job properly. People who experience any significant changes in body mass or are predisposed to developing conditions that affect the kidneys should take this test more frequently. This will ensure that any changes are noted quickly and swift action is taken to prevent your condition from deteriorating to a dangerous level.

You also need to keep an eye on your creatinine levels if you take medications on a consistent basis. All drugs, even the ones that supposedly don’t have a negative side effect on the kidneys, release chemicals that need to be removed from your body. As kidneys are the natural filtering system that disposes most of the chemical waste, they will work overtime to get rid of the medication residue. Being overworked on a regular basis can lower the efficiency of this natural cleansing system and cause you a great deal of trouble.

It’s imperative to discuss these issues with your doctor and take regular creatinine tests to ensure that your kidneys function properly. Take the test as soon as possible if you have these symptoms:

  • Problems with urinating – pain, burning sensation, abnormal discharge during urination, sudden change of urination frequency.
  • Swelling and puffiness around the eyes, on your face, wrists, ankles, thighs, or abdomen.
  • Foamy, bloody, or coffee-colored urine.
  • Decrease in the amount of urine produced.
  • Feeling of pain below your ribs mid-flank (kidneys are located there).
  • Poor appetite, trouble sleeping, fatigue, and trouble concentrating.
  • Hypertension.

What Does Low Creatinine Mean?

There are several factors that can influence your creatinine level:

  • Muscle mass – The amount of creatinine in your blood reflects the amount of muscle you have. Low muscle mass means that your creatinine level will be lower than average. This is why your creatinine lowers when you age as your muscles literally melt away. Malnutrition that is severe enough to cause muscle loss leads to an abnormally low level of creatinine.
  • Diet – Animal proteins are main contributors that increase your creatinine level. Therefore, vegetarian diet is usually characterized by decrease in this particular index. This is normal if your nutrition plan is well-balanced and can actually be helpful if you experience severe kidney problems.
  • Pregnancy – During this period, a woman’s body changes and starts getting rid of chemical waste more efficiently. Although this lowers the level of creatinine, your doctor needs to keep an eye on it to ensure that your kidneys can handle this increased amount of activity.
  • Advanced liver disease – The liver is where proteins break down and manufactured. If it doesn’t function well, the amount of proteins inside your body starts to fluctuate. This can result in low creatinine levels, and in this particular case, signifies a dangerous health problem.
  • Excess water intake – Chemicals in your blood are diluted by water, so increasing its intake will interfere with the results of tests. It’s imperative to discuss this with your doctor and determine the amount of water you need to take in order to ensure that the results of your creatinine blood tests will be accurate.

Low levels of creatinine in itself doesn’t indicate that there is a health problem. It actually shows that your kidneys work well and can remove this chemical from your body quickly and efficiently.

Your doctor will need to consider many factors in order to determine whether the lower-than-normal level is a symptom of a dangerous condition. You also need to take note of any sudden changes in your urination patterns and inform your doctor about them.