Body worship is a common thing nowadays. A large part of the population is engaged in some kind of sport. And in many cases, in the gym.

However, sometimes we exercise excessively. And on such occasions can produce severe alterations such as rhabdomyolysis .

What is rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdomyolysis is the syndrome caused by the degeneration and destruction of muscle fibres , a destruction that causes some of the components of these fibres to enter the bloodstream. Specifically, myoglobin and various enzymes such as CPK, LDH and GOT stand out, which in high concentrations are toxic to the kidney.

Although the symptoms presented by people with rhabdomyolysis may vary, they usually coincide with the presence of generalized weakness and fatigue, muscle pain , decreased number of urinations, and the presence of red or brownish urine.

This condition is usually seen in physically demanding professions such as the military, firefighters, police or athletes. Although there are more and more cases derived from excessive physical training.


Rhabdomyolysis is a very rare disorder, but can occur for a variety of reasons . The three most common reasons for rhabdomyolysis are alcohol consumption, trauma from accidents, and intense physical exercise.

Other causes of rhabdomyolysis are genetic muscle diseases, seizures, and things like excess body temperature, phosphorus deficiency, or dehydration.

Picture complications

The effects and severity may depend on factors such as the amount of muscle destroyed. It may become non-symptomatic or it may lead to severe kidney failure and even death.

The most frequent complication of the picture is acute renal failure , generated by the excessive presence of myoglobinuria. It can be detected by the presence of dark-colored urine, usually brownish and looking like cola. This condition is usually produced when more than 100 grams of muscle are destroyed, releasing so much myoglobinuria that the kidney is unable to filter and becomes obstructed. Interestingly, in this case it has been reflected that the greater the muscle mass of the subject, the greater the possibility of this complication.

Other possible complications include arrhythmias resulting from the changes and the shedding of cells into the blood. Excess and deficits of other components, such as potassium, phosphate and uric acid , can also occur. These can lead to life-threatening chemical imbalances that have the potential to cause heart failure.

How is it treated?

The treatment of rhabdomyolysis can allow the complete recovery of the picture, but it is essential that it is started as early as possible. Priority is given to the continued hydration of the patient to prevent kidney problems, by injecting serum. Likewise, restore normal diuresis or urination.

Glucose is also injected to avoid dangerous elevations in potassium that can cause heart problems. If there is no response to the serum or the patient develops kidney failure, hemodialysis is applied.

The prognosis with early treatment is very positive , with the vast majority of those affected recovering and the normal functioning of the system and the kidneys being restored. However, if it is not treated in time, it may cause the death of the subject.

Recommendations for sports

As mentioned throughout the article, one of the most frequent causes of this disorder is excessive physical exercise.

In this last aspect we can emphasize that it can appear in those people who do an excessive exercise for their physical condition. Especially noteworthy are cases of people who begin their sport by making excessive efforts over a very long period of time. In general, an excessive rupture of the muscle is caused because the muscles are not allowed enough time to adapt to the exercise.

But also occurs in subjects used to exercise , after periods in which they have not exercised or when the demands to which they are subjected exceed what their muscles can withstand.

This does not mean that you should not do high-intensity exercise, but it should be noted that it is advisable to adjust the exercise to your own physical shape and to recognize your own limits. You should start slowly and progressively. Warming up the muscles beforehand with simple and not excessively demanding exercises can be essential to avoid this problem.

Bibliographic references:

  • Clarkson, P.M. (1993). Worst case scenarios: stress rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure. Sports Science Exchange 4 (42).
  • Henares, P. (2011). Rhabdomyolysis secondary to physical exercise in a gymnasium. SEMERGEN, 38 (1).
  • Khan, F.Y. (2009). Rhabdomyolysis: a review of the literature. Neth J Med, 67, pp. 272-283.