Rhabdomyolysis - Describe Your Experience

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What is rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdomyolysis (RAB-DOE-MY-O-LIE-SIS) is the rapid destruction of skeletal muscle resulting in leakage into the urine of the muscle protein myoglobin.

There are three different types of muscle in the human body;

  1. smooth muscle,
  2. skeletal muscle, and
  3. heart muscle.

The skeletal muscle is the muscle of movement of the body (moving the skeleton at the joints). Skeletal muscle is affected by rhabdomyolysis.

Myoglobin is a protein component of the muscle cells that is released into the blood when the skeletal muscle is destroyed in rhabdomyolysis. Creatine kinase is an enzyme (a protein that facilitates chemical reactions in the body) also in the muscle cells. The level of each of these proteins can be measured in blood to monitor the degree of muscle injury from rhabdomyolysis. Myoglobin can also be measured in samples of urine.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: 26monthsclean, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 02

I overdosed on heroin on my birthday, January 21, of 2013. I had been clean for 7 months prior and other than being lonely and bored and having no coping skills, decided to get high 'one more time'. I had sat on the floor to shoot up, and when I went out, must have bent forward at the waist, pinching off my femoral artery to my right leg. My father unexpectedly came home and found me, thank goodness. After many shots of nasal and IV Narcan, and CPR I woke up at the local hospital. My right leg was 3 times the normal size and I had never felt such excruciating pain. The emergency room (ER) doctor hit me with Dilaudid and the next time I woke up it was in the ICU of a hospital. I had zero feeling from midline over and hipbone down on my right side. No feeling, no movement. It was scary. After days of dialysis and IV fluids and I don't know what else, the swelling began to subside, a little. After 7 days I regained some feeling, enough to try to use a walker. It took 2 months to regain the full use of my right leg. I still have two very small 'dead spots' and my leg aches terribly before it is going to rain or snow, but I think of that stuff as my reminders. I am proud to say I have been clean since March 23, 2013 and now work in the recovery field. But that was my experience with rhabdomyolysis, as they so casually call it.

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Comment from: 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: November 24

I am 24 years old. The rhabdomyolysis began at the gym. I hadn't lifted weights in over a year and since I used to lift I immediately started my old routine. After a 45 minute workout, I went home and felt fine. Two days later I started to feel off. My skin tone started to look really unhealthy and I had terrible bags under my eyes. I was also extremely sore and my muscles felt like they were on fire all over my body. That night I started experiencing extreme heart palpitations and heart skips. I kept going in and out of consciousness, sometimes hallucinating a little bit only to be woken up unable to breath. The next day I started having chest and bad back pain but not spinal or muscular. I felt like I had the flu as well. I told my dad that something just didn't feel right since typically I would just rest it out. I drove to the doctor and he did an EKG which looked odd to him so he told me to go to the emergency room (ER) thinking I may have had a heart attack. I went there and they said my heart is fine and that they will send me home with some medication since I wasn't feeling well but I had to wait for some blood results, just in case. Twenty minutes later they asked me if I do any drugs, what medications I am taking, and if I recently over exerted myself.' I had a CK level of 16,000 and spent 5 days in the hospital. At one point both myself and my sister who was a nurse at that hospital started to panic because my blood levels had dropped to 12,000, then in a few hours spiked all the way up to 21,000. I was getting fevers and shaking all over, uncontrollably. I am very lucky to have had no kidney damage from this and to have been told to go to the ER otherwise I could have had kidney damage or even failure and death.

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