High Creatinine Symptoms: What May Occur When Your Levels Are Off

The symptoms of high creatinine can depend on the condition that’s causing it.

Drug toxicity (drug-induced nephrotoxicity)

Some medications can cause damage to the kidneys and impair their ability to function. Examples of such drugs are:

  • antibiotics, such as aminoglycosides, rifampin, and vancomycin
  • cardiovascular drugs, such as ACE inhibitors and statins
  • chemotherapy drugs
  • diuretics
  • lithium
  • proton pump inhibitors

Symptoms that go along with high creatinine and can develop rapidly may include:

  • fluid retention, particularly in your lower body
  • passing low amounts of urine
  • feeling weak or fatigued
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • shortness of breath
  • irregular heart rate
  • chest pain

Kidney infection (pyelonephritis)

A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). It can happen when bacteria or viruses infect other parts of your urinary tract before moving up into the kidneys.

If left untreated, kidney infections can cause damage to your kidneys and even kidney failure. Some kidney infection symptoms to look out for include:

  • fever
  • pain localized to your back, side, or groin
  • urination that’s frequent or painful
  • urine that appears dark, cloudy, or bloody
  • bad-smelling urine
  • chills
  • nausea or vomiting


Glomerulonephritis occurs when the parts of your kidneys that filter your blood become inflamed. Some potential causes include infections or autoimmune diseases like lupus and Goodpasture syndrome.

Glomerulonephritis can lead to kidney scarring and damage as well as kidney failure. Symptoms of the condition include:

  • high blood pressure
  • blood in the urine, which may make it appear pink or brown
  • urine that appears foamy due to high levels of protein
  • fluid retention in the face, hands, and feet


Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar is too high. Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to a variety of health problems, one of which is kidney disease.

There are two types of diabetes — type 1 and type 2. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can develop quickly while symptoms of type 2 often develop gradually. General symptoms of diabetes include:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • frequent urination
  • increased appetite
  • feeling fatigued
  • blurry vision
  • sensations of numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • slow wound healing

High blood pressure

High blood pressure happens when the force of the blood pushing on the walls of your arteries is too high. This can damage or weaken the blood vessels around the kidneys, impacting kidney function and causing high creatinine.

Since high blood pressure often has no symptoms, many people don’t know they have it. It’s often detected during a routine health screening.

Heart disease

Conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure, can also impact kidney function. These conditions can affect blood flow through the kidneys, leading to damage or loss of function.

Symptoms of atherosclerosis don’t usually occur until an artery is severely narrowed or completely blocked. They can also depend on the type of artery affected. Some general symptoms include:

  • chest pain (angina)
  • shortness of breath
  • abnormal heart beat (arrhythmia)
  • feeling tired or weak
  • stroke-like symptoms, such as paralysis or trouble speaking

Symptoms of congestive heart failure can include:

  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or fatigued
  • swelling in the abdomen, legs, or feet

Urinary tract blockage

Your urinary tract can become blocked due to a variety of things, such as kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, or tumors. When this happens, urine may accumulate in the kidneys, leading to a condition called hydronephrosis.

Symptoms of a urinary tract blockage can develop quickly or slowly over time depending on the cause. Some signs to look out for in addition to a high creatinine level include:

  • pain in your back or side
  • frequent or painful urination
  • blood in your urine
  • passing small amounts of urine or having a weak urine stream
  • feeling tired or fatigued

Kidney failure

Kidney failure refers to a decrease in kidney function and one of the most common causes of high creatinine. It can be either acute or chronic. The symptoms of acute kidney failure can come on quickly while those of chronic kidney failure develop over time.

Some symptoms of kidney failure to watch for include:

  • fluid retention, particularly in your lower body
  • passing low amounts of urine
  • feeling weak or fatigued
  • headache
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • trouble sleeping
  • muscle cramping
  • feeling itchy
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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