Redskins’ Haynesworth Suffers from Rhabdomyolysis
Albert Haynesworth has had a difficult preseason. First his knee, and now he has missed a few practices last week due to rhabdomyolysis. This is not something we commonly see in the athletic population, so I thought it would be a good topic of discussion. Rhabdomyolysis occurs in about 26,000 people per year in the US.
Muscles are made of a number of different proteins, one of which is known as myoglobin. With an injury, muscle cell can break and release the proteins in the blood and circulatory system. Myoglobin is usually filtered out of the body by the kidneys. As an abnormally high load of myoglobin effects the kidneys, the kidneys can be damaged and start shutting down.
About 85% of people with major trauma suffer from some degree of rhabdomyolysis. About 15% of people with rhabdomyolysis will develop kidney/renal failure. This is a serious complication of rhabdomyolysis. Other risk factors include: alcoholism, some genetic syndromes, crush injuries, heat intolerance and stroke, muscle death, seizures, severe exertion with activities like marathons, trauma, and overdose of drugs (such as amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin).
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE
If you think you are suffering from rhabdomyolysis, then you should seek medical attention immediately.
There are a variety of symptoms that one can experience with rhabdomyolysis, including: dark/red urine, weakness, muscle cramping and soreness, muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, seizures, and weight gain. Urine production and output may decrease once the kidneys start shutting down. This can lead to abnormalities in substances in the body, including having a high potassium level and a low calcium level.
The major concern of rhabdomyolysis is the complications affecting the kidneys. This can be minimized by early and aggressive hydration. If enough fluids cannot be drunk, then intravenous fluids may be needed. Those who suffer from kidney failure may need to be placed on dialysis. Diuretics, which stimulate urine production, may be given to force the kidneys to make urine. Other medications may be needed to lower the potassium level and increase the calcium level.
OUTCOMES AND RETURN TO ACTIVITIES
Outcomes depend on the degree of kidney involvement. Once the kidneys recover, which can be tracked by blood work, an athlete can get back to activities. This can take days to weeks, depending on how damaged the kidneys are. The goal is prevention with hydration before or after athletic activities.
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