Exercise to death

Why intense workouts can lead to a life threatening condition

Intense workouts can help you down the pounds, but they can also create a breakdown of muscle.

Recently extreme exercise like Spinning, P90X, CrossFit, weightlifting and running have been linked to rhabdomyolysis.

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What is rhabdomyolysis?

It quite literally means “breakdown of muscles.”

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When muscles experience trauma, they release a kidney-poisoning protein into the bloodstream.

What are the symptoms?

The “classic triad” includes:

  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle weakness or trouble moving the arms and legs
  • Dark red or brown urine or decreased urination

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How to avoid rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis can affect seasoned gym-rats and new exercisers alike. Avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications because they can damage the kidneys.

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The most important thing you can do is make sure your muscles can handle your workout.

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I mean, Spinning, you burn 600 calories in an hour, and you lose up to a liter an hour of sweat. Six hundred calories is like running six miles. So if you’re not conditioned, you wouldn’t just run six miles.

Dr. Maureen Brogan

Associate professor of medicine at New York Medical College, nephrologist at Westchester Medical Center