What does a high CK (Creatine Kinase) level mean?

Recent blood test shows my CK level is high 385.
What does this mean?


Photo of Hanifa Menen
Creatine Kinase is a enzyme found in many tissues of the body which is often used clinically as a marker showing several possibilities: a heart attack (myocardial infarction), severe muscle breakdown, or even acute renal failure. In patients who may have had a heart attack, the CK test will usually be ordered when they arrive at the emergency room and again at intervals of 4-6 hours for a total of three tests. If you have muscle pain or weakness, your doctor may order CK to see if other muscles have been damaged. A high CK, or one that goes up from the first to the second or later samples, generally indicates that there has been some damage to the heart or other muscles. It can also indicate that your muscles have experienced heavy use. If your doctor suspects a heart attack and your CK is high, she will usually order a more specific test to see if your heart is damaged.

Do note that people who have greater muscle mass have higher CK levels than those who don’t, and African-Americans may have higher CK levels than other ethnic groups. Very heavy exercise (such as in weight lifting, contact sports, or long exercise sessions) can also increase CK. Other forms of muscle damage, such as from a fall, a car accident, surgery, or an injection can also increase CK.

Several drugs, including cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), can damage muscle and increase CK. While early pregnancy can decrease CK levels.

I hope this information is useful for you.
Response by Hanifa Menen BSc, ND


Before starting any new health program or before you begin taking any medication, natural medicine, or supplement, always check with your primary health care provider.

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