I'm 5'8", approx. 215 lbs. (down from a high of 270), very muscular and have had high blood pressure for a number of years. My creatinine levels were sufficiently high nine years ago to have a needle biopsy (kidney) which revealed scarring of mysterious origin. The people at UNC Hospitals, several visiting experts and others to whom samples were sent have no idea what caused this problem. There is nothing in my background in terms of environmental chemicals or drug use that would point to a cause (although I was a heavy pot smoker for thirty years - - no more).
When I started to lose weight three years ago I slowly weaned myself from blood pressure med., b.p. was good, then I regained a lot of weight without returning to med. When I went back to see my doctor in August, 2005 my b.p. was very high, I went back on med. and immediately began to feel better (and to get back to losing wt.).
My problem is that during that return visit to my doctor, my creatinine level was 3.3 . She sent me back to my specialist, he adjusted my med. (now I'm on 100 mg. Cozaar and 8 mg. Cardura) and I redoubled efforts at losing wt. In October the reading was 3.1 and I was optimisic about improvement. Then in February 2006 it was 3.5, I was bummed, and then in last October it was 4 and I'm freaking out.
My essential question (PLEASE forgive my wordiness) is this: in Feb., prior to giving blood, I slept only a couple of hours per night for three nights AND had eaten much very salty food (a large bag of heavily salted pretzels). In Oct., as in Feb., I was continuing a long-time habit of taking 4000 mg. of vitamin C per day. Googling has led me to think that all three of these factors (lack of sleep, heavy salt intake, megadoses of C)might skew the creatinine reading. I'm hoping that when I go in next month, having eliminated all three of these things, the blood work will yield very different results.
I also ingest a fair amount of caffeine, lots and lots of diet soda. Is this a bad idea ? Thanks so much to anyone who takes the time to read this and/or respond. I sincerely wish perfect health and peace to all of you and all of your loved ones. Thanks again. Peter
Hi Peter. It sounds like you have been working hard again to take care of yourself. I'm sorry to tell you that a creatinine in the 3s is indicative of some very significant kidney damage. While dehydration can change the level somewhat, at that level, there is definitely something wrong with your kidneys. While other things like potassium and sodium levels can be affected by what you eat, the creatinine doesn't typically change all that much unless your system is really stressed (illness, dehydration, etc). The creatinine is really just a marker. It is a byproduct of muscle metabolism (so if you have a lot of muscle and use it, your cr will be higher. But that said, yours is too high to have been brought up to that level by external factors.
Since your initial biopsy was done almost a decade ago, there is a chance that you have something called IgA nephropathy. It hasn't been that well known until recently. Talk to your doc about it. The other thing is that the high bp may have caused your kidney problems also.
Try not to freak out too much about changing creatinine levels. While the course of the disease means that your creatinine will continue to climb, it is cyclic. It will go up and down (sometimes significantly in either direction), but the overall trend is for it to go up as your kidneys worsen.
The good news is that if you are feeling ok and taking care of yourself, it may be a very long time before any intervention (dialysis or transplant) is necessary. I was pre-dialysis for over 20 years.
If you have any other questions, don't be afraid to ask. And please keep us posted.
Thanks, Cora, for your prompt and solicitous reply. I'll mention your reference to my doctor next month, and try to stay optimistic. I've always assumed that bp issues were the most likely cause - - trying not to waste energy belaboring past errors in judgement and action. Thanks again. Peter
P.S. Isn't it interesting how strongly one responds to the expression of interest and good will on the part of a perfect stranger? Something about us all being inter-connected, I'm sure.
Peter, it also goes without saying, the better your diet choices, the better your health will be. The diet sodas and excessive caffiene can't be good for your kidneys. Try to drink lots of good filtered water instead, and eat as healthy as possible. Of course you already know about the importance of keeping your BP under control. The large quantities of Vit. C can't be good. Good for you for loosing the weight!