The Causes of Rhabdomyolysis Vary Depending on Your Lifestyle

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  • The onset of rhabdomyolysis mainly results from unforeseen circumstances, such as vehicular accidents and sports-related injuries
  • Fitness enthusiasts, on the other hand, should warm up properly and moderate their exercise. By monitoring and controlling your physical activity, your risk of developing an injury will lessen

The onset of rhabdomyolysis mainly results from unforeseen circumstances, such as vehicular accidents and sports-related injuries. Other times, it’s caused by certain habits that harm your health, such as abusing dangerous drugs or exercising too much. No matter what it is that triggers the onset, these situations create damaged muscle tissue that leak high amounts of proteins and enzymes into your bloodstream, which can be toxic to your kidneys. Some of the potential causes of this disease include:1,2

Major Trauma

Injuries sustained from life-threatening events such as earthquakes or car accidents can seriously damage your body. Toxins can instantly flood your bloodstream, which can impair your kidneys if you’re not treated immediately.

Abuse of Drugs

A common side effect of illicit drug abuse is muscle damage. One notable example is cocaine, which creates vasoconstriction that can turn into muscle ischemia (the lack of blood flow in a particular muscle). The ensuing necrotic tissue releases proteins such as myoglobin, as well as electrolytes such as potassium into your system.3

An example of a legal prescription drug that can cause rhabdomyolysis is statins, a classification of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels in people with cardiovascular disease. Two of statins’ major side effects are muscle pain and weakness throughout your entire body.4

Overtraining or Extreme Physical Activity

Athletes who push themselves too hard may experience a condition known as exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis. Strenuous activities related to your occupation, such as military training, can lead to muscle failure as well.5

Surgery

In certain medical procedures, a particular muscle may need to be bound or set in a certain position for a long period of time, which can cause injury to the muscle.

Physical Abuse

Children who are victims of physical abuse may develop rhabdomyolysis. In one study, researchers noted that the muscles usually injured are the soft tissues of the buttocks and the legs. Of the 14 children reviewed, nine of them had acute renal failure, but did not require dialysis to treat their condition.6

Heatstroke

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures (140 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius) can lead to heatstroke, a condition that not only damages your muscles, but also your brain, heart and kidneys. If not treated right away, it may become fatal.7

Genetic Disorders

In some cases, genetic muscular disorders like McArdle’s disease, a condition wherein your muscles cannot metabolize energy properly, can trigger rhabdomyolysis. Strenuous activities such as swimming, jogging or even walking can immediately result in fatigue and painful cramps that lead to muscle failure.8

Other Risk Factors Associated With Rhabdomyolysis

Your risk of rhabdomyolysis can increase due to certain factors, such as:9

Venomous snake bites

An occupation that may involve a higher risk of physical injuries

Mushroom poisoning

Exercising too much in a very hot and humid environment

Certain Health Complications Can Stem From Rhabdomyolysis

If you’re diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, doctors immediately look for possible health complications, most notably acute renal failure. As muscle breaks down, it releases various proteins, most notably myoglobin. Too much of it causes an obstruction in your kidneys, which in turn causes your urine to turn dark. This condition is also known as myoglobinuria.10

Another complication that can appear alongside rhabdomyolysis is compartment syndrome. In this situation, a compartment, which is a collection of muscles, nerves and blood vessels, experiences a drastic increase in pressure due to swelling or bleeding within the compartment. If the pressure becomes too much, it can cut off blood flow, leading to the death of tissue.11,12

Be Aware of the Various Circumstances in Which Rhabdomyolysis Can Develop

As discussed, the situations wherein rhabdomyolysis can appear vary greatly, depending on your lifestyle. Certain occupations have a higher risk of accidents so it’s important that you take safety precautions to prevent harm. Fitness enthusiasts, on the other hand, should warm up properly and moderate their exercise. By monitoring and controlling your physical activity, your risk of developing an injury, as well as rhabdomyolysis, can decrease.

MORE ABOUT RHABDOMYOLISIS

Rhabdomyolisis: Introduction

What Is Rhabdomyolisis?

Rhabdomyolisis Symptoms

Rhabdomyolisis Causes

Rhabdomyolisis Treatment

Rhabdomyolisis Prevention

Rhabdomyolisis Diet

Rhabdomyolisis FAQ


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