Creatinine Blood Test: What is it, Purpose, Results Interpretation
Tests & Procedures

Creatinine Blood Test: What is it, Purpose, Results Interpretation

A creatinine blood test is a common laboratory test that measures the level of creatinine in the blood. Creatinine is a waste product produced by muscle metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. The test is essential for evaluating kidney function and overall health.


  • Assess Kidney Function: The primary purpose of a creatinine blood test is to assess how well the kidneys are filtering waste from the blood.
  • Diagnose Kidney Disease: Elevated levels of creatinine may indicate kidney disease or impaired kidney function.
  • Monitor Kidney Health: For individuals with known kidney conditions, this test helps monitor the progression of the disease and the effectiveness of treatments.
  • Evaluate Medication Impact: Certain medications can affect kidney function, and this test can help assess the impact of these medications on the kidneys.
  • General Health Check: As part of a routine health check, a creatinine test can provide valuable information about overall health.


  • Fasting: Generally, no fasting is required before a creatinine blood test. However, if the test is part of a comprehensive metabolic panel, fasting might be necessary.
  • Hydration: It’s important to stay well-hydrated before the test. Dehydration can affect the results by concentrating the blood and raising creatinine levels.
  • Medication Disclosure: Inform the healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products being taken, as some can influence creatinine levels.
  • Dietary Considerations: Avoid consuming large amounts of meat or protein supplements the day before the test, as these can temporarily raise creatinine levels.
  • Physical Activity: Strenuous exercise should be avoided before the test, as it can increase muscle breakdown and subsequently elevate creatinine levels.


  • Sample Collection: The test involves drawing a blood sample from a vein, usually in the arm. The site is cleaned with an antiseptic, and a tourniquet is applied to make the veins more visible.
  • Blood Draw: A needle is inserted into the vein to collect the blood sample. This process typically takes a few minutes.
  • Post-Procedure: After the sample is collected, the needle is removed, and pressure is applied to the site to stop any bleeding. A bandage may be applied.
  • Laboratory Analysis: The blood sample is sent to a laboratory where the creatinine level is measured using automated analyzers.

Normal Range

  • Adults: The normal range of serum creatinine for adult males is approximately 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL, and for adult females, it is about 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL.
  • Children: Normal values for children vary by age and growth stage, typically ranging from 0.2 to 1.0 mg/dL.
  • Influencing Factors: Age, gender, muscle mass, and overall health can influence normal creatinine levels. It’s important to interpret results in the context of these factors.


  • Normal Results: A normal creatinine level indicates good kidney function and efficient clearance of waste products from the blood.
  • Elevated Creatinine: Higher-than-normal levels suggest potential kidney impairment. Possible causes include:
    • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
    • Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)
    • Dehydration
    • High protein intake
  • Low Creatinine: Lower-than-normal levels are less common but can occur in conditions such as:
    • Severe malnutrition
    • Muscle wasting diseases
    • Certain liver diseases
  • Further Testing: If abnormal results are found, further testing such as a Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) test, urine tests, or imaging studies may be recommended to determine the cause.


  • Bruising: Minor bruising can occur at the site where the blood sample is taken.
  • Lightheadedness: Some individuals may feel lightheaded or faint after the blood draw.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Slight pain or discomfort may be experienced when the needle is inserted or removed.
  • Hemorrhage: Rarely, excessive bleeding may occur, especially in individuals with bleeding disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications.

The creatinine blood test is used to assess kidney function and overall health. Understanding its purpose, preparation, procedure, normal results, and potential risks can help individuals better prepare for and interpret this common medical test. Regular monitoring through creatinine blood tests can lead to early detection and management of kidney-related issues, contributing to better long-term health outcomes.