Serum creatinine test for kidney disease

doctor giving white woman blood test
Learn about a serum creatinine test for kidney disease including what your test results mean.
Medically reviewed by
AKF's Medical Advisory Committee
Last updated
June 6, 2024

What is serum creatinine?

Creatinine is a waste product in your blood that comes from your muscles. Healthy kidneys filter creatinine out of your blood through your urine.

Your serum creatinine level is based on a blood test that measures the amount of creatinine in your blood. It tells how well your kidneys are working. When your kidneys are not working well, your serum creatinine level goes up.

Your doctor can also measure creatinine with a urine test.

How do I find out my serum creatinine?

To find out your serum creatinine, you will have your blood drawn at your doctor's office. A lab will test your blood sample to see how much creatinine is in your blood. Then, your doctor will share the test results with you.

What does my serum creatinine test result mean?

Serum creatinine test results are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Normal creatinine levels vary based on your sex, age and amount of muscle. In general, a normal level is:

  • 0.7 - 1.3 mg/dL for males
  • 0.6 - 1.1 mg/dL for females

A higher than normal serum creatinine result may mean that your kidneys are not working well. Your doctor will compare your serum creatinine results with other test results, such as your blood urea nitrogen (BUN) , to decide on next steps. If your serum creatinine result is higher than normal, your doctor may do other tests.

Your serum creatinine result will help your doctor estimate your eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate), which is a measure of how well your kidneys filter waste from your blood.

What should I do after I get my test results?

No matter what your test results are, it is a good idea to ask your doctor these questions:

  • What do my test results mean?
  • What other tests should I have done?
  • When should I get tested again?

You can also take steps to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible:

  • Keep a healthy blood pressure (less than 120/80 for most people)
  • Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day
  • Eat foods low in salt and low in saturated fat
  • Be active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco
  • Talk to your doctor about medicines that might help protect your kidneys

Your donation directly supports the fight against kidney disease

For 22 consecutive years Charity Navigator™ has rated us a Top Nonprofit. Your donations allow us to help more people than any other kidney organization – from making 150 kidney transplants possible every month to delivering financial relief to 1 in 7 dialysis patients. We also fund clinical research, provide financial assistance for kidney patients affected by natural disasters, and support a National virtual pediatric camp and a Kidney Health Coach community program.