Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidney and often causes kidney damage.
Causes: When muscle is damaged, a protein called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream. It is then filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into substances that can damage kidney cells.
Rhabdomyolysis may be caused by any condition that damages skeletal muscle, especially injury.
Causes & Risk Factors: Alcoholism, trauma, heatstroke, drugs, ischemia or necrosis of the muscles, and seizures (to name a few).
Symptoms: Abnormal urine color, general weakness, muscle stiffness/tenderness/aching, fatique, and joint pain (to name a few).
Treatment: Getting fluids that contain bicarbonate may prevent kidney damage by quickly flushing myoglobin out of the kidneys. Fluids may need to be given through a vein (by IV). Some patients may need kidney dialysis.
The outcome depends on the amount of kidney damage. Acute kidney failure occurs in many patients. Getting treated soon after rhabdomyolysis begins will reduce the risk of permanent kidney damage.
Prevention: Drink plenty of fluids after strenuous exercise to dilute your urine and flush any myoglobin that is released from your muscles out of your kidneys. Also drink a lot of fluids after any condition or event that may have damaged skeletal muscle.