Health risk: if the muscles literally dissolve after a workout

Rhabdomyolysis: Exaggerated fitness training brings three young women to the hospital

Millions of Europeans regularly visit gyms. The training there is actually healthy and promotes muscle building. However, you can overdo it with sport, as a case from Scotland shows. Three young women ended up in the hospital because of their extreme training with severe muscle pain.

Sport can also be unhealthy

Exercise is good for your health: Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure or heart attack. In addition, athletes are less likely to suffer from overweight or obesity. However, if you overdo it, sport can be very unhealthy. This also shows a case from Scotland, where three women had to go to hospital because of their excessive training.

With extreme muscle pain to the doctor

The fitness industry in Germany is booming just like in other European countries.

Exercising with weights or the new trend sport kettlebell are not only popular with "typical" bodybuilders.

Three young women from Scotland also wanted to strengthen their muscles with such training. Instead, they developed extreme muscle pain through sport and had to be treated by a doctor.

Waste from dead muscle cells can cause life-threatening complaints

The journal "BMJ Case Reports" reports on the case of three young women from Scotland who went to medical treatment in 2016 with signs and symptoms of physical rhabdomyolysis.

"Rhabdomyolysis means - translated directly - disintegration of skeletal muscles", says the internet portal "".

"This means that the contents of muscle cells such as electrolytes (e.g. potassium and calcium), myoglobin (a muscle protein) and other proteins leak into the blood," the experts explain.

"The sudden and large secretion of" waste "from dead muscle cells can lead to numerous different changes in the body, from minor problems to life-threatening complaints."

Typical symptoms include pain, swelling and weakness of the affected muscles and the excretion of large amounts of muscle protein in the urine, so that the urine appears reddish or tea-colored.

Some patients also experience fever, weakness, nausea, and vomiting.

A common complication is acute kidney failure. Most patients recover, but for some the disease can be severe due to acute / chronic kidney damage.

Unusually large muscle loads

There are a number of possible causes for rhabdomyolysis. For example, the disease can occur after injuries or infections.

Genetic defects, a lack of oxygen in the muscles or certain medications or drugs can also trigger the disease.

And even after extreme physical exhaustion:

"People who have been subjected to great physical exertion can develop rhabdomyolysis," says "".

This happens, for example, in connection with a marathon or with strenuous training sessions for relatively untrained people or with unusually large muscle loads.

This was also the case for the patients described in the journal "BMJ Case Reports".

Twelve liters of infusions a day

The Scottish women, aged 18 to 24, had all attended the same gym and underwent intensive physical training.

They had severe muscle pain and swelling, significantly reduced freedom of movement in the affected muscles and, in two cases, dark urine.

The patients were apparently lucky because early diagnosis and treatment are very important for the prognosis. The general practitioner immediately referred her to a clinic and admitted her to the hospital.

Since the clinical picture in patients with rhabdomyolysis is characterized by significant fluid loss, which increases the risk of acute kidney damage, the primary therapy consequently consists of an intensive intravenous fluid supply.

Up to ten to twelve liters a day may be required. This treatment must be done as soon as possible. The later you start hydrating, the greater the risk of kidney damage.

The three women from Scotland all recovered without kidney effects and were discharged from the hospital after one to six days.

Don't overdo the training

According to health experts, there is an increased risk of rhabdomyolysis, among other things, with intensive crossfit training or working with kettlebells.

But other exercises that are unusual for the body, often repeated and exaggerated, increase the risk of the disease.

Therefore, it is generally advised not to overdo it with sports, to treat yourself to rest again and again and very important: always drink enough during physical activity. (ad)

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