CPK Blood Test Meaning Explained

What does CPK mean in a blood test?

CPK stands for a blood test called creatine phosphokinase. CPK is an enzyme found primarily in muscles. This includes the muscles in the heart. Any muscle injury or damage can cause a rise in the blood level of CPK.

Creatine is different from creatinine blood test.

Uses of C P K Blood Test

CPK blood test is used for measuring:

  • the effect of certain drugs such as cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) that can damage muscle and elevate CPK.
  • Other causes are alcohol, viruses, hereditary conditions.
  • Finally CPK can be elevated in certain autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation in the muscle such as polymyositis or dermatomyositis.

CPK Level Chart and Normal Ranges

Conventional Units (U/L)SI Units (mkat/L)

CPK test FAQs

Q: My son had a recent blood test with high CPK levels. Could this be from weight lifting?

My son had a blood test that showed extremely high CPK levels. (11,000 and then confirmed at 15,000) He recently was lifting weight (heavy) for the first time. We went to the ER and he was admitted. He was givel IV liquids and the levels dropped to 6000 then 4900 then 2000 over two days. It was NOT the CPK MB that shows cardiac damage.His renal functions were all normal. I’ve looked but couldn’t find anything on the internet with people showing this extreme level. Now that the level is down significantly, should we be worried. The hospital is releasing him with another follow up test tomorrow.

Answer: CPK is creatine phosphokinase, an enzyme found in heart, muscle, and brain tissue. An elevation in CPK most often alerts physicians to order an MB fraction, the one specific for cardiac (heart). Usually if the MB fraction is normal you can rule out cardiac damage. Therefore, it is very likely that your son had high CPK levels due to the weight lifting because of severe muscle strain.

Q: My husband who is 63 had cpk test with level of 1300 – is this dangerous? I have researched and found the normal range is up to 200. My husband has no symptoms except he feels like he is losing muscle and has lost about 10 pounds.

Answer: The normal range for CPK result for a male is 38 to 174. If your husband’s tests returned with this level, several things may happen. First, his doctor may repeat the test within a couple of days to see if there is any significant change. Second, your husband may be required to undergo a series of medical tests to rule out any significant problems. 

The CPK test (Creatine Kinase) tests for the presence of a certain enzyme present in the heart, brain, and muscles. An increase in this enzyme can indicate several things, all of which will need to be ruled in or out through additional testing: mainly heart issues, such as a recent heart attack, pericarditis, myocarditis (both infections involving the heart), a stroke or seizure, or hypothyroidism. 

I hope this helps and hope that additional testing on your husband turns out well!

Q: Extremely high CPK levels… help please?
I am 14. I had a blood and urine test done a couple days ago. Everything is good but CPK. It should be between 0 and 190 U/I. I have 852, this is so high. I go to a gym and workout intensely if that may be the cause. Thanks. I do not have any heart or lungs disease. And no chest pain.

Answer: People that frequently preform high intensity exercises for strength and size usually have slightly higher CPK values. Even some protein can be found in their urine. However, a line should be drawn, if you want to keep your kidneys healthy in the long term.

These values are clear indicator that you are not getting enough rest inbetween workouts. The more you break your muscle fibers, the longer it takes for them to recover. Also, creatine supplements can affect CPK results, by resulting in higher number.

Drink plenty of water, take another day or two of rest or lower your intensity.

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Dr.Megan Ralf

A Medical laboratory Scientist who devoted his life to medical and laboratory sciences, writes his everyday expertise dealing with various pathological conditions through laboratory diagnosis of different body fluids, also participating in many workshops for first aids, infection control, and urgent care. Also Dr Megan Ralf coaching many medical teams.