Rhabdomyolysis: Get Educated

Rhabdomyolyis is the rapid breakdown of muscle tissue releasing muscle contents into the bloodstream.  The release of myoglobin (contents of muscle tissue) becomes harmful when it affects the kidney.  The mechanism of injury is typically revealed as excessive trauma causing damage to the muscle tissue. 

In the athletic population this pathology is typically referred to as exertional rhabdomyolysis.  The excessive trauma is typically due to extreme levels of over exertion following periods of prolonged inactivity. 

Individuals can become predisposed to the condition if they do not practice in adequate hydration practices.  Excessive intake of alcoholic beverages is a major concern; as well as inadequate water consumption before, during, and after activity. 

Normal hydration is recommended at 8 cups of water per day.  Since we are in the athletic environment a minimum of 10-12 cups of water per day should be the goal of the athletes here unless instructed otherwise.   Limited amounts of carbonated, high sugar/fructose should be consumed if any need to be consumed at all.  Proper hydration is a key step in prevention not only for exertional rhabdomyolyis but many other pathologies as well.

Other risk factors associated with the disease include genetic dispositions, as well as heat illnesses and muscle disorders.

Signs and symptoms to be aware of include urine color, and unexplained fatigue, as well as distorted soreness.  Urine color is a common factor to monitor when under suspicion of most internal pathologies.  Normal urine color tends to be closer to the clear yellow tint.   When signs of dark, red or even cola colored hues are noticed, this is a symptom that must be reported to the sports medicine staff  immediately.  Also, severe fatigue and unproportional muscle weakness, tenderness, pain may be signs as well.

The best treatment for this pathology is prevention so… hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!!