Low GFR and high Creatinine

Hi everyone! I am confused and hoping someone could clear things up for me. I am 42, slim, healthy energetic woman, who exercises 3-4 times a week.

I drink a lot of water and herbal teas totaling to around 4 liters every day. Eating well and have no diabetes or high blood pressure. No swelling at all. I am thirsty and go to the loo about every waking hour.

I had my blood checked and the results came with Creatinine 113 and GFR of 52. My GP asked for a repeat of Creatinine levels and isn't interested in discussing my worries at all. However, by googling my results I should be on the 3 stage of kidney disease. Could I be that sick without symptoms? Should I insist on a nephrologist consult? Or just forget about it and continue with my life until I feel unwel?

Any input is much appreciated, guys!

All the best and stay healthy!!

X

36 Replies

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  • The GFR is the number that triggers a lot of other issues in dealing with CKD. It's not the only number but it is a big one. See your doctor at every appointment and it doesn't hurt to see a nephrologist. They are the kidney specialist. At this point, there is a lot under your control. If you smoke stop, if you drink, cut it way down. The biggest change you can make is switching to a kidney-friendly diet. They will provide recipes that will be low in potassium, sodium, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. If you can, consult a Renal Dietitian and bring your most recent lab values with you and work with the RD to develop a meal plan that is tailored for you. The best, in my opinion, recipes are at davita.com

    It sounds like you are getting exercise and unless you are told to either increase it or decrease it, keep going. Also, you may be told to minimize your fluid intake. Chart your weight and be aware of unexplained ups (could be fluid retention) and downs.

    Lots of great folks here to help and guide you along, just remember that everyone has a different story and it depends on your specific situation as to what is recommended for you and what you determine is in your best interests for the lifestyle you want.

    Best of luck

  • Hi and welcome.

    Mr Kidney gave lots of good advice. You are peeing so much because you are drinking a lot. I've always been a big water drinker- mostly nerves I think. My holistic doctor told me I was washing away all my nutrients. She said to keep hydrated, but peeing ever 30 to 60 minutes was excessive. She said if I peed every 3 hours or so that was adequate. Of course you should speak to your own doctor, but just thought I'd point that out.

    Make sure to get tested to see if you have hematuria ( blood in urine) or proteinuria ( protein in urine). There are many reasons your GFR can drop. Your doctor might want to be clear before diagnosing antything, on the other hand, too many of us on here were not told we had CKD until much later. The sooner you catch it, the more chance there is you might be able to slow it down.

    Do not ignore this. Kidney disease like hypertension does not always have symptoms until later stages. I would insist on an appt with a nephrologist. No reason to worry at this point though. There is a lot you can do as Mr Kidney said. I bounced back from GFR 51 and now back up to stage 2 due to changes I've made.

    Take care

  • Thank you for your response! I am was wondering if the results could be wrong? Or maybe, could they be affected by the fact that the week before testing I was in a bootcamp for 5 days, exercising 10 hours per day and was on a strict high protein diet?

    Best regards,

    Elly

  • Hi, I also have several factors similar to yours. I am not thirsty, but have been drinking more water because I should be. I exercise pretty hard every day. I am on a couple of medications that I am going to check out. I am 99% dairy free, don’t eat too much protein. I have been a very sensible eater for a long, long time. But, I have found that several things I was eating are not good now. A lot of protein can be harmful. Fruits and vegetables I ate before are not okay now. I extremely limit the sodium, potassium, phosphorus. I was just looking at foods in freezer, tilapia, flounder, tuna that worked before will not work now by looking st labels. Peanut butter and bananas too. I would suggest a follow up, and also reading labels. If I have a question, I type “kidney diet cantaloupe” as an example. I find out quickly if I can or can’t. Great luck.

  • Dear Sally,

    Thank you for your information. I will definitely look into checking what I eat from now on. I find it a bit upsetting though, as I said before, I love food - it's part of my happiness. It will be hard for me to change(((

    I wish you lots of health and positive feelings in your life!

    Regards,

    Elly

  • Thank you! It really isn’t that bad, I have been low carb for years so some things are not supposed to work now. I just can’t eat what others do, never have been able to. If I were you, I would try to figure out why so thirsty. Maybe cut down to 8 to 10 ..8 oz bottles of water a day. You may be depleting essential nutrients, electrolytes and setting up a cycle of dehydration. Hope you find something that works. I think this is a new area and many don’t know exactly what is going on.

  • Hi Sally, just curious as to what your GFR is. Both my doctor and holistic doctor said I did not need to worry about any fruits or vegetables except star fruit which is poisonous to kidney patients. I am stage 2 so as long as my tests come back ok for potassium, phosphorus etc I don't have to limit myself. I do have to eliminate gluten ( not only because I'm intolerant, but also my type of kidney disease (IGA nephropathy ) responds well to no gluten diets), eat a normal amount of protein limiting red meat and don't eat too much dairy.

    I know different stages require different diets.

  • My gfr is 63 and my creatinine is 1.23 and the high is 1.40. I am dairy free by choice, had really cut down the protein. My doctor hasn’t told me anything but he is on it. I am the one that started reading and have changed my eating. I am suspicious of cholesterol medicine...of which they are seeing connections. I am having a scan just to make sure, but mine is staying considtant. though not on target. I have never perspired much. When pregnant gained excessive water weight and blood pressure hit very high. So just trying to do what kidney foundation says. Even almond milk is loaded with what I don’t need.

  • Sounds like you GFR is good so you must be doing something right! The main thing my holistic kidney doctor has me eliminating is oils and foods highbin Omega 6 which causes inflamation because my type of CKD is autoimmune based. That means most processed foods. All nuts except walnuts and macadamia and all oils except olive and macadamia and a little coconut which is good for fighting infections. I also take flax oil daily which is high in Omega 3 and counterbances the effects of too much Omega 6.

    Yeah, unfortunately mainstream doctors pretty much just say watch your salt and red meat intake and that's about it until you get sent to a renal dietician when your GFR drops lower. At our stage there isn't much information. I'm stage 2 as well up from stage 3 in 2013.

  • Hi Zazzel. I thought Omega 6 was supposed to be good for you?

  • As with everything, you are going to hear two sides. Eggs are good for you, no eggs are bad for you etc etc. it's hard to keep up! The food industry will have you believing Omega 6 are good for you. The holistic industry is telling us something differently.

    From my understanding, it is the balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 that is most important.

    Here is a report from the US National library of medicine that explains it better.

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/124...

    Also, if you Google " Omega 3 vs 0mega 6." You can get different people's opinions so you can decide for yourself.

    I'm not sure where you live, but the US has become overrun with processed convenient foods and lots of saturated fats. If people went back to cooking more of their own meals and eating more raw, or steamed foods, this probably wouldn't be an issue.

    according to my holistic doctor, reducing Omega 6 and increasing Omega 3 can help in the reduction of inflamation which some CKD patients such as myself, suffer from.

    Hope this helps :)

  • Thank you Zazzel for taking the time to reply. Much appreciated.

  • Hi,

    I hope you don't mind me asking but what is the connection between kidney function and cholesterol medicine? Also, what does almond milk have in it that is bad?

  • Hi, there is a possible connection between statin medications used for cholesterol. Also, I don’t remember saying almond milk is bad. Sodium and potassium is supposed to be watched. There is plenty in almond milk. Coconut milk seems to be the lowest and I just use mine for coffee. Also my doctor is very proactive. He knows I have been working so hard on diet and exercise, yet gfr and creatinine are not reflective of that. So, I am trying by changing to kidney diet and addressing anything that could be a culprit. Hope that makes sense.

  • Many brands of almond milk contain carrageenan which is used as a thickening agent.

    It can cause inflamation even in small doses. If your CKD is autoimmune based then avoidance of inflamation is key to keeping your kidneys happy.

    There are brands of Almond milk now that are carrageenan free. They make a point of saying pretty big on the packaging as it is starting to draw more attention to the damaging effects in the health food world.

    Again, as said above in my com,wants about Omega 6, that's what is being talked about now, tomorrow they may say it's good for you.

    Here is some information on it.

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/702...

    pkdiet.com/diet_carrageenan...

  • Thank you for the information Sally much appreciated.

  • Yes, a high protein diet can affect the immediate test results for creatinine and GFR, but a healthy individual would probably not drop their GFR that low. See this study ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

    There is likely something else going on. Perhaps you have another kind of infection or it may indeed be kidney disease. Mine dropped by 20 points prior to my outbreak in shingles, then it went back up once the shingles were healed.

    A high protein diet especially if it is high red meat and dairy can be hard on people with kidney disease. We are mostly told to watch our protein intake to meat the standard dietary requirements focusing on fish and chicken. In various stages of kidney disease different amounts of protein are recommended.

    Personally, I'd wait a week or so cutting back to a normal protein intake and get retested. In the states we can order tests at some labs ourselves using self pay rather than making an appt if your doctor isn't willing to do it. Perhaps you can do that where you live. Keep a watch on it and if your GFR doesn't go back to the mid 90 to 100 range than its time for further discussion. Your GFR does drop as we get older, but you are still young enough that it shouldn't be dropping much yet.

    Keep us posted.

  • I hear you, Zazzel, I have ordered a full blood check and urine test online. Going to the hospital to withdraw blood tomorrow and hope to have the results back early next week.

    Thank you again for your advise and I will post when I have more news. In the mean time, I will try to cut down on my fluid intake.

    Take care and stay healthy!

    Regards,

    Elly

  • Lots of protein and high physical activity results in high creatinine which is a component of lowering your GFR. Have you had your blood sugar checked? I would have a Nephrologist consult and have him do blood and urine tests. I think four liters of water a day is a bit excessive on fluids unless there is a huge need like extreme sports. Are you sure your herbal teas are kidney friendly? Many are not. I would back off the protein diet as well as it does make the kidneys work harder which is not good long term. Avoid sugar and salt as much as possible. Limit dairy and red meats which tax the kidneys and create high phosphorous and creatine levels. Being dehyrated from excessive urination also causes creatinine to spike.

  • Morning, Mysticlad!

    Thank you for your response.

    My sugar HBA1C came with 35. I think it might be normal? Please let me know if you think otherwise. I drink ginger and rhubarb, peppermint, nettle and roibos teas. Most of the time with lemon and no sugar. In the morning I do have a cup of English Breakfast tea with milk and sugar. Otherwise, water and no other drinks. I drink that much because I am thirsty. I will try to limit myself and drink less though. I am not very happy to go on the diet. I love my food. Mainly I eat salads like tomatoes, cucumbers, reddish, onions with tons of parsley and dill. Accompanied by salmon, chicken, lamb or beef. Once a week I make soups. Breakfast would be eggs, spinach, broccoli, avocado, smoked salmon, occasionally, bacon. I also love yogurts, apple tarts and ice cream in the evening))) I don't eat junk food or ready meals from the shops. I always cook and use coconut oil for frying. I do put salt and sometimes chilli flakes in my meals. My C- reactive protein came up <1.

    Regards,

    Elly

  • You either mean 3.5 which is excellent or 35 which is the other system also excellent. Some give it as mg/dl and others mmol/l. A 35 on the later is almost too low. It might be a problem called diabetes inspidus where the anti-diuretic hormone, ADH, is not working correctly causing excessive thist and frequent urination. Your blood sugar is low because you are washing out all the glucose. I would tell your doctor and have him test for for ADH imbalance. Read more here: webmd.com/diabetes/guide/wh...

  • Thank you for taking your time to reply to me, I greatly appreciate your words!

    I checked the blood results papers and it has a note from pathology lab stating:

    HbA1c <42 mmol/mol: not consistent with diabetes mellitus, but may still be at high risk. Review lifestyle measures and monitor as clinically indicated.

    I say: What?

    What do they mean by that?

    Thank you again!

  • I am 43 slim and very healthy also work out 4 times a week. I have no symptoms other than high blood pressure. I am late stage 3 but feel great every day. I do see a specialist every 4 months but he always says just live your life. Don't spend your days worrying, it will make things worse for you. Research healthy eating for the disease but otherwise just live your life. Changing your eating habits is really all you can do right now. Perhaps see a nutritionist for the correct info. Stay positive, as hard as it can be.

    Good luck with everything

  • You mentioned you go to the loo almost every hour. That is not normal. Going to the loo that frequently implies you are either over-loading your kidney's with excess fluid (google the dangers of excess fluid consumption on kidney health) consumption or you are showing signs of very early stages of CKD. Remember most or almost all CKD sufferers do not feel sick till their eGFR actually reaches 15 or below! If your kidneys are over working then it is not good for them - like all organs in the body kidneys also need rest.

  • Dear Saifomar,

    I agree with you! I will try to drink less and see how I manage that. Thank you for your output! Very useful!

    Regards,

    Elly

  • Were you fasting when you took the test? If not, that will through you test off and show you have or be prone to diabetes.

  • No, I wasn't fasting. Why would it through my test off? My HbA1c was 35 mmol/mol . I thought it was on the lower side of Diabetes?

  • Forget my last comment. I was supposed to fast for a glucose test, but the Hba1c sounds like you don't have to fast. I just looked it up as I'm live in the states and am not familiar with that test.

  • Got the results of my second blood test this morning!! Creatinine 71 and GFR is 90!!!! What a difference a week makes! Is it possible? Or was it a laboratory mistake? My previous markers were Creatinine 113 and GFR 52!

  • Thank heavens! That's great news!!!! Thanks for letting us know. I bet it was the excessive protein. Now you know a little about kidney disease and can help spread the word to friends and family that it is important to get regular blood work done to make sure all their organs are functioning. Catching anything early makes a huge difference.

  • It was the excess protein intake and physical exertion along with dehydration. All increase the toxins in your blood especially the waste product known as creatinine which is a GFR component.

    Nice work.

  • hi..im chris..i had 52 years of kidney problem and have had a sucessful transplant..an egfr of 52 is fine..dont take ibruprofen or any other nsaid tablets they damage kidneys..reduce red meat intake and if poss stick to fish..by doing a good veg style diet you should see creatinin come down..dont over drink..3 ltrs is enough..and most impotant of all is to keep positive.and upbeat..52 will last the whole of your life..so dont worry..regards chris

  • Hi Chris!

    Thank you for your reply and support.

    I have redone the test and it came back with Creatinine 70 and GFR of 90! So I am not sure which test to believe. Going to have a third test tomorrow. We will see what this one will come up with.

    All the best,

    Elly

  • good news..dont worry any more..chris

  • Hi, not sure who this will reply to, but just sharing. I have worked extremely hard on my diet and exercise for several years. I am the leanest I have ever been, but my bloodwork numbers havent been reflective of what I do. My doc is really on it and I am blessed. I work so hard, but thengi fir my physical and it is depressing. He ordered a kidney ultrasound. The results are that I have a swollen kidney that is not emptying properly. I go soon. I am posting because I have seen so many that doctors seem to be dismissing. My gfr was 63 and creatinine 123. My doc mentioned scan last time...6 months ago, and after this last physical. If he hadn’t been on it, not sure what would happen.No major symptoms except having some discomfort on left, feeling like I have to pee, etc. Just wanted to share.

  • Hello Sally10255, Try not to worry so much, your gfr63 is a good result and you are very lucky that your doctor is 'on your case'! I cannot recall any mention of swollen kidneys on this site, so do not know what, if any, treatment is available, or maybe it clears up on its own! I am sure we all wish you well and will follow your progress with interest - Curleytop1.

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