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What is rhabdomyolysis? Workout, rare condition sends teen to hospital 

Seventeen-year-old Jared Shamburger of Houston thought his post-workout soreness after a 90-minute weightlifting session was nothing out of the ordinary at first. Then he was hospitalized for five days.

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According to KTRK, Shamburger had recently joined a gym to work out with his older brother and dad, both of whom had been lifting weights for years.

But after last week’s lengthy workout left him sore, swollen and hospitalized, the teen was diagnosed with a rare condition known as rhabdomyolysis — or rhabdo.

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There are fewer than 200,000 cases of rhabdo reported in the United States annually.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the condition occurs when damaged skeletal muscle tissue rapidly breaks down and then releases the damaged cells of broken-down products into the bloodstream.

These products, such as the protein myoglobin, are particularly harmful to the kidneys and can result in kidney failure. The condition can also lead to permanent paralysis.

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Rhabdo is often caused by a specific event, such as an injury, hypothermia, overexertion, drug use, infection, genetics or use of certain medications.

In face, previous research has shown that 1 out of 10,000 people who took statins, drugs typically prescribed for those with high cholesterol, for long periods of time, developed rhabdomyolysis.

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Signs and symptoms of rhabdo

  • painful muscle aches
  • dark-colored urine
  • dehydration
  • general fatigue
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • nausea

Treatment may depend on how severe the case is, but in reversible cases, intravenous fluid therapy can be administered to rehydrate the body and flush out myoglobin. Other treatment options include dialysis, urine alkalization and blood filtration.

In most reversible cases, rhabdo resolves within days to weeks.

Drinking plenty of fluids after a strenuous workout may help prevent the condition. 

More about rhabdo at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

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