L28 — July 2011 — Rhabdomyolysis
Intro: Earlier this year, 13 football players from the University of Iowa were hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis. It's a condition that can happen for several reasons, including if you exercise too hard, especially in the heat. Severe cases can lead to kidney failure. The man you're about to meet knows the dangers of rhabdomyolysis firsthand. It happened to him after an intense workout.
I was doing a workout.
Push-ups, sit-ups, lifting weights. Jerry Holecek pushed himself hard — too many reps — when he started a new workout program.
My arms were really sore. Triceps were really tight, and I couldn't even bend them this far.
Then his muscles started to swell and his urine was dark.
Essentially, the muscles broke down.
Rhabdomyolysis means that you develop an insult to the muscles, and when that happens, if it's severe enough, it can lead to kidney failure.
Dr. John Graves says this is what happens to your body: Injured muscles break down and release a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. This protein can damage the kidneys, and it can also block the conduits that produce urine. Plus, damaged muscles swell and become a reservoir for fluid, causing dehydration and further insult to the kidneys.
It's extremely dangerous because the rhabdomyolysis insult often is unrecoverable. So the first thing you will notice is severe pain in your muscles, and the next thing you'll notice is very dark or Coca Cola-colored urine. Once you recognize that, immediately proceed to your doctor. The most important thing your doctor will do is try and counteract the dehydration and maintain a high level of urine flow, trying to flush the poisons, the protein, out through the kidneys.
I actually was admitted to the hospital and spent the weekend in the hospital because they were afraid of kidney failure.
After treatment — constant IV fluids — Jerry recovered. No permanent kidney damage. Now, almost three months after his illness, Jerry is getting back into an exercise routine.
I'll just gradually get into it so it doesn't happen again.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Dr. Graves says rhabdomyolysis from working out is pretty rare. But it is important to know the signs and symptoms. Other causes of this condition include muscle trauma, as in an auto accident, and drug and alcohol abuse.
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