It is well known that a combination of sensible eating and daily exercise, where some lifting of weights is an integral part, achieves the basic recipe for healthier living and enhanced physical strength. As well as anyone a decade or two younger, this extends to middle-aged people.
A recent study says that it is good to practice weightlifting but should not be overdone to keep muscles vibrant and healthy. And for beginners or those who have not done it in a while, lifting in a way that does not overpower the exerciser should be approached. It is important to start slowly, and with lighter weights, and then develop gradually to avoid a threatening, but often ignored, condition known as rhabdomyolysis.
Far too often, after a prolonged absence from exercise, those who become ultra-motivated to get fit will fall prey to Rhabdo, as can an exerciser who is already fit but uses a particular set of muscles that have been neglected for some time. And this condition is not confined to free weights; it can be extremely counterproductive to hop on a stationary bike and ride vigorously without sufficient warm-ups over time. For a physically-toned human, too. And Rhabdo, is enough to put a person in the hospital, will cause intense pain too!
What is Rhabdo?
When muscle cells burst and spill their contents into the bloodstream, an unusual condition named “Rhabdo” occurs. This can cause a number of issues, including fatigue, muscle pain, and dark or brown urine. The harm can be so serious that kidney failure can contribute to it. Only one of the triggers is heavy physical activity.
Others include side effects of treatment, use of alcohol, overdose of medications, illnesses, and trauma/crush injury. Luckily, most individuals with Rhabdo may not get sick enough to require hospitalization. But it’s a safe idea to set up an appointment with the doctor while experiencing any of these symptoms after a hard workout. A simple test of blood and urine may assist to determine the diagnosis.
Who is Affected by this?
While rhabdomyolysis can happen to anyone, some groups have a higher chance of developing the condition than others. People with an increased probability of having rhabdomyolysis include:
- Endurance athletes: There is a greater chance of developing rhabdomyolysis for marathon runners, individuals who take spin lessons, and those who perform high-intensity interval workouts. Without resting, these groups can push themselves too hard.
- Firefighters: In hot temperatures, firefighters can develop the condition after physical exertion. Rhabdomyolysis can be caused by overheating.
- Service members: The risk of developing rhabdomyolysis is increased for people in the military, especially those in boot camps or who are undergoing intensive training.
How can you Avoid Rhabdo?
Most cases of Rhabdo are simply handled at home by increasing the intake of fluid. IV fluids may be required if muscle enzyme levels are high, or if there are signs of kidney problems. In certain situations, for close supervision and further care, patients need to be admitted to the hospital and even to the ICU. To avoid this situation, following tips can offer good results:
- Only drink plenty of water. That will help avoid problems and help kidneys to flush.
- Stop using drugs that are anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These drugs can cause kidney function to deteriorate.
- Stop alcohol intake. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it can dehydrate heavily further. In the body system, fluids are mostly needed, not the contrary.
Causes of Rhabdomyolysis
Rhabdomyolysis has multiple traumatic and nontraumatic causes. Causes in the first category include:
- A crush injury such as from a car crash, fall, or collapse of a building.
- Long-lasting muscle compression, such as that induced by prolonged immobilization during illness or under the influence of alcohol or medicine after a fall or lying unconscious on a hard surface.
- Consumption of alcohol or illicit substances, such as opium, cocaine or amphetamine.
- Extreme muscle strain, particularly in someone who is an untrained athlete, may also occur in professional athletes, and if there is more muscle mass to break down, it can be more dangerous.
- A metabolic condition such as ketoacidosis in diabetics.
- Muscle disorders (myopathy) such as congenital muscle enzyme deficiency or muscular dystrophy at Duchenne.
- Infections of viruses such as the flu, HIV, or herpes simplex virus.
As a result of an inherited muscle condition, people can get rhabdomyolysis and may have a higher chance of rhabdomyolysis if they have some metabolic or mitochondrial disorders. The way energy travels through the cells is affected by a metabolic disorder. When the body does not generate energy for the cells properly, mitochondrial disorders occur.