Life can be challenging and unpredictable, sometimes with sudden injuries and with-it aftermath.
Any physical injury can make you dependable and affect your body. We often stumble, fall, and get injured, sometimes the injury is so severe affecting our muscles. Sometimes exercise or any sort of accident can lead to muscle damage. In some serious muscle injury, we might get diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis.
Now, what is rhabdomyolysis? And what happens when we get diagnosed with it?
Rhabdomyolysis is a severe syndrome caused by a direct or indirect muscle injury. It is caused by the casualty of muscle fibers and the discharge of myoglobin into the bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications resulting in renal (kidney) failure. Due to this, the kidneys fail to remove waste and concentrated urine. In odd situations, rhabdomyolysis can even lead to fatality. However, if treatment is done on time, then the outcomes reflect good signs.
The treatment of people diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis includes IV fluids (given through your veins), dialysis, or hemofiltration to address kidney damage in more major cases.
Rhabdomyolysis Signs and Symptoms
Rhabdomyolysis is a severe disease whose signs and symptoms are hard to detect because of the differences in the course of rhabdomyolysis, depending on the cause. Therefore, symptoms can trigger at any point in your body or can affect the whole body. Also, complications may occur in early and later stages.
The “classic triad” of rhabdomyolysis symptoms are muscle pain in the shoulders, thighs, or lower back; muscle weakness or trouble moving arms and legs, and dark red or brown urine or decreased urination. It is common to see muscle-related symptoms among most people.
Recognizing the Symptoms
The initial symptoms of rhabdomyolysis can be subtle. They’re not specific and may mimic other conditions. The symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include:
- Muscle Weakness
- Low Urine Output
- Dark, Tea-Coloured Urine
- Infrequent Urination
- A Fever
- A Sense of Malaise, Or Feeling Sick
What Causes Rhabdomyolysis?
Rhabdomyolysis is always triggered by muscle injury. This injury can have physical, chemical, or genetic causes. Anything that damages the muscles can cause this condition. Some possible causes include the following:
Trauma, heat, and exertion causes in this category include:
- A Crush Injury, Which Can Occur When Something Heavy Falls on You
- A Heat Stroke
- A Third-Degree Burn
- Blocked Blood Vessels
- A Lightning Strike
- Intense Shivering
- An Ischemic Limb Injury, Which Occurs When Your Tissue Lacks an Adequate Blood Supply
- Pathological Muscle Exertion
- A Car Accident
- Intense Exercise, Such as Marathon Running
- Genetic And Metabolic Disorders
Some people develop rhabdomyolysis because of genetic conditions such as problems with the metabolism of
- Lipids Or Fats
- Purines, Which Are in Certain Foods, Such as Sardines, Liver, Asparagus
Metabolic Problems, such as the Following, Can Also Trigger Rhabdomyolysis:
- Hypothyroidism Or Low Thyroid Hormone Levels
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis, Or A Build-up of Ketones in The Body
- Electrolyte Imbalances
Genetic disorders that can lead to rhabdomyolysis include:
- A Carnitine Deficiency
- Mcardle’s Disease
- A Lactate Dehydrogenase Deficiency
- Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
- Infection And Inflammation
Several types of infection and inflammation can cause rhabdomyolysis, including:
- Viral Infections
- Bacterial Infections
- Medications And Toxins
One important cause of rhabdomyolysis is statin medications, which are cholesterol-lowering drugs that many people take. statins include:
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
- Pravastatin (Pravachol)
The condition can also occur due to exposure to other drugs, certain toxins, and high levels of alcohol. Other drugs that can cause rhabdomyolysis include:
Most people with rhabdomyolysis are treated with fluids given through their veins in an intravenous (IV) drip. Some people may require dialysis or hemofiltration to address kidney damage in more severe cases.
How is Rhabdomyolysis Diagnosed?
This disease can only be diagnosed under the guidance of professional supervision. Once you see the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, consulting a doctor is crucial. The doctor will examine the larger skeletal muscle in the body that ache, to check for tenderness. A proper need of test needs to do. Your doctor will probably prescribe you to perform urine and blood tests to be more certain about the diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis.
Some of the tests that help in determining muscle and kidney health may include determining levels of:
- Creatine Kinase, is an enzyme found in the skeletal muscles, the brain, and the heart
- Myoglobin present in blood and urine, which is a protein, a by-product of muscle breakdown
- Potassium, another important mineral that may leak from injured bone and muscles
- Creatinine found in blood and urine, which is a breakdown product created by muscle that is normally removed from the body by the kidneys
Elevated levels of these substances indicate muscle damage.
Treatment Options for Rhabdomyolysis
Rhabdomyolysis is a severe disease, however, if the treatment commences at an early stage, then it can be treated successfully without any long-term damage to the kidneys.
Fluids are crucial for our body to be healthy and working properly. For the treatment, it is necessary to start the IV fluids quickly containing bicarbonate, which functions by flushing the myoglobin out of your kidneys.
Proper medication is necessary for any kind of treatment. In order to keep your kidney functioning, doctors prescribe medications such as bicarbonate and certain kinds of diuretics.
Appropriate IV fluids can be as beneficial as treating high potassium levels in the blood, or hyperkalemia, and low blood calcium levels, or hypocalcemia.
With the onset of kidney damage and acute renal failure, you may find yourself in adhere need of dialysis. Now, what happens in dialysis? During dialysis, blood is taken out of our body and cleaned in a special machine in order to remove waste products.
When there is a mild case of rhabdomyolysis, home treatment can help aid in the recovery process. In order to prevent further kidney damage, home remedies can be an effective goal where treatment comprises of giving your body rest so muscles can recuperate and rehydrate.
Try and be relaxed in a comfortable position, when you feel fatigued. Consuming lots of fluids like water and other clear liquids, such as light broth and sports drinks is crucial to keep your body from further damage or casualties.
A long-term outlook depends on the extent of kidney damage. Early treatment can help you avoid severe complications returning back to your normal health steadily. Recovery takes time and you might face some lingering weakness and pain in your muscles.
However, if your kidney is damaged to a great extent then your kidney might be permanently damaged. There are some serious complications and symptoms related to rhabdomyolysis where the result may be fatal.
Tips For Preventing Rhabdomyolysis
Rhabdomyolysis is caused by muscle injury so consuming lots of fluids prior to or after an arduous exercise can help you eliminate any myoglobin that your muscle may release during exercise by diluting the urine.
A history of any muscle condition or damage caused by a recent trauma can avoid rhabdomyolysis by staying well-hydrated all the time.
Always carry a bottle to avoid dehydration and ensure that you have access to any kind of fluid. Ignoring your thirst can lead to complications.
Consulting a doctor even with the slightest complication can save you from major casualties and the prevention of muscle damage.
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