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Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes

Creatinine Levels Low

07/06/2009

Question:

My mother is diabetic. She was diagnosed about 15 years ago. She told me that her creatinine levels came out low on an urine test. She was referred to a nephrologist. I worry a lot because I have read that it could be a problem with the health of her kidneys. Can you please explain what is going on so can understand and better explain to her and the family. She is 71 years old. I thank you very, very much for your help.

Answer:

Diabetes is a very common cause of kidney disease; you can read about "chronic kidney disease" in the two links below, which describe how various diseases can affect the kidneys, and how we can diagnose kidney disease and monitor kidney function. 

One of the most important functions of the kidneys is to excrete waste products: one of these is called "creatinine."  If the kidneys are not doing their job properly, the amount of creatinine in the urine will be low, and the creatinine level in the blood will be high.  If this is your mom's situation, she should definitely be under the care of a kidney specialist.  If you would care to write back with more information (such as her actual blood and urine creatinine levels or her urine protein level), I may be able to give you a more accurate estimate of exactly how much kidney disease she has, but she can certainly get the same info by visiting a kidney specialist. 

Important aspects of her care at this time are: 1) keeping blood sugars, blood pressure, and cholesterol well-controlled; 2) limiting her salt intake; and 3) not smoking.

Related Resources:

Basic Information About the Kidneys
Kidney Tests

For more information:

Go to the Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University