Cystatin C

What is cystatin C?
Cystatin C is a protein that is produced throughout the body. A cystatin C test is used to help evaluate kidney function, and it plays many other roles in health, including its role in predicting new-onset diabetes or deteriorating cardiovascular disease.

Unlike creatinine, cystatin C is not significantly affected by muscle mass (hence, neither sex nor age), race, or diet.

Why test cystatin C?

Unless this is ordered as a retest or for a specific reason, we recommend ordering this as part of a health test.

Health check
Discover your risk factors for lifestyle diseases in time to do something about them.

Lifestyle factors
You drink a lot of alcohol and/or eat a diet low in nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans.

Monitoring
Monitor changes to your blood values as you make lifestyle changes, or take supplements or medication.

What causes low cystatin C?

Low
You have a lower level of Cystatin C than expected in your bloodstream.

What causes high cystatin C?
A high level of Cystatin C in the blood corresponds to a decreased glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and is associated with kidney dysfunction. Cystatin C should remain steady in the blood if the kidneys are working efficiently and the GFR is normal. 

An imbalance of Cystatin C can also occur with normal aging, due to unhealthy lifestyle factors or some chronic diseases. People with osteoporosis have elevated Cystatin C , as do those with hyperthyroidism and diabetes. Recent studies suggest that increased levels of cystatin C may also be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, heart failure, and mortality. Scientists are still trying to understand the relationship between Cystatin C and these conditions.

If both your Cystatin C and your hsCRP are high, this might indicate inflammation. If you want to rule out systemic inflammation, we recommend testing other inflammatory markers such as ESR, TNF alpha, IL-6, fibrinogen and homocysteine (preferably together with folate and B). 

More information

Instructions
No advance preparation is needed for this test.

On the day of the test
Remember to take I.D. with you when going to take a test.  Arrive early and sit down quietly for 15 minutes before taking the test.

 

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