Rhabdomyolysis Symptoms and Causes (cont.)

Rhabdomyolysis is the result of massive muscle destruction. Weight lifting in the gym is not the only cause.

It is often the major injury suffered by victims of a blast injury from an earthquake, bombing, or lightning strike.

It may be caused when a person falls and lies motionless for many hours and the weight of the body in effect crushes its own muscle. That scenario can happen in stroke victims or an intoxicated person who has fallen with no one around to assist, and then are found many hours later. Non-injury causes include side effects of certain medications such as statins used to treat high cholesterol and some psychiatric medications.

The most common symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include: 1) muscle weakness; 2) muscle aches; and 3) dark urine. The muscle damage causes inflammation leading to tenderness, swelling, and weakness of the affected muscles. The dark urine color is due to myoglobin being excreted in the urine by the kidney as it tries to rid the body of the muscle breakdown products.

Symptoms related to the expected complications of rhabdomyolysis include:

As mentioned previously, inflamed muscles hurt and the common symptoms include pain and swelling at the site of the overused or injured muscles, but the big issue is the myoglobin. It is a large protein and when it circulates in the blood can clog the filtering system in the kidneys causing kidney failure. Some of the protein passes into the urine and turns it brown, but some urinary function still decreases and nausea, vomiting, and weakness progress further. Confusion, coma, and seizures can occur if the body's electrolyte levels become unbalanced.