What is rhabdomyolysis?


Know the basics

What is rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdpmyolysis is a condition that occurs when muscle is damaged. This damage releases the pigment myoglobin from muscle into the blood. Kidneys normally filter the pigment out of the blood. However substances from the muscle breakdown may harm the lidneys by blocking their filtering structures. The kidneys fail and release toxic waste products into blood.

How common is rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdomyolysis more common in adults, although the disease can occur in infants, toddlers and adolescents with hereditarily lack of enzymes needed for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, or those with genetic muscle disease.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis?

The main symptoms are muscle pains and red or brown urine that may then turn less urine or no urine being produced. This serious sign of being unable to urinate, symptom of kidney failure, means that immediate medical care is needed. Other symptoms are fatigue, lethargy, joint pain, etreme thirst, and fast or irregular heartbeat

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should get medical care right away if you:

  • Have one of the causes of rhabdomyolysis especially a crushing muscle injury or exercise-related heatstroke.
  • See colored urine or decrease in urine output after treatment.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes rhabdomyolysis?

Causes include crushing injuries to muscle, seizures, and exercise-related heartstroke.

Other causes are severe frostbite, severe burns, drug overdose, cocaine use and side effects of medicines such as statins (use to treat high cholesterol).

Sometime, too much high endurance exercise by someone who is not trained enough can cause exessive muscle breakdown and rhabdomyolysis.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for rhabdomyolysis?

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing rhabdomyolysis:

  • Medications and Toxic Substances (Direct myotoxicity): HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, especially in combination with fibrate-derived lipid-lowering agents such as niacin (nicotinic acid; Nicolar); Cyclosporing (Sandimmune), Itraconazole (Sporanox), Erythromycin, Colchicine, Zidovudine (Retrovir), Corticosteroid.
  • Medications and Toxic Substances (indirect muscle damage): Alcohol, Central nervous system depressants, Cocaine, Amphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, Neuromuscular blocking agents.

Not having risk factors does not mean you cannot get hamstring strians. These factors are for reference only. You should consult your doctor for more details.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is rhabdomyolysis diagnosed?

The doctor can make a diagnosis from medical history, physical examination and laboratory tests.

Blood studies will show poor kidney function, high potassium levels and other abnormalities of body fluids. Besides, doctor may check the creatine kinase (CK) level, a product from muscle breakdown.

Urine tests will help doctors find myoglobin, a similar substance as hemoglobin and is released from damaged muscle, which can help diagnose rhabdomyolysis.

Your doctor may conduct some other tests to rule out other causes with similar symptoms, identify the causes of rhabdomyolysis or seek for complications.

How is rhabdomyolysis treated?

Treatment takes place in the hospital. Intravenous fluids are first given to keep a steady urine flow. This treatment is helpful to flush pigments through the kidneys. Medicines maybe given to change the acidity of the urine, to make the urine alkaline, and to increase urination. This also flushed pigments out of the kidneys.

If your kidney are already fail, doctor may order dialysis (kidney machine) to remove fluid and wastes and to rest the kidneys until they can recover. Weeks to moths may be needed, depending on how severe the problem is.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage rhabdomyolysis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with basal cell skin cancer:

  • Stay well hydrated and drink plenty of fluids
  • Stop using alcohol or drugs that may have contributed to your condition. Find a program that can help you with your alcohol problem.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017