What is Rhabdomyolsis? What are some risk factors, symptoms and complications associated with it

Rhabdomyolsis refers to a medical condition under which the muscles of the body deteriorate. As a result, the broken muscles are released into the blood stream. Since muscles of body are made up of myoglobin therefore breakdown of muscles releases myoglobin into blood. It proves dangerous for the body and may even lead to failure of some prominent organs of the body such as kidney, liver or cause damage to the nerve tissues. The kidneys may also suffer some injuries or blockage in the filtering tubes due to muscle breakdown. Hence, it is very important to treat Rhabdomyolsis.

Complications– Apart from kidney failure, compartment syndrome are another complication associated with Rhabdomyolsis. It is caused due to swelling and increase in a restricted space in the kidney due to muscle injury. As a result, the circulation is affected and hence proves threatening to the distressed tissue. Such type of syndrome is mostly caused following injury in the lower arms, legs or the muscles of the walls of the abdomen. It may also require urgent surgery in some cases.

Rhabdomyolsis also leads to defect in the electrolytes in the blood. It is due to release of contents of the muscle cells due to muscle injury. As a result, the level of potassium and phosphorus increases in the blood.

Risk factors- Some of the risk factors associated with Rhabdomyolsis are damage to the striated muscle fibres. It may be indicated by minor defect of gait or recumbence.  The occurrence of muscle damage is confirmed by quantification of the muscle enzymes in the blood. The enzyme known as Creatine Kinase in the blood is the leading marker of the muscle damage.


Weakness of Muscles– It is the most common symptom of Rhabdomyolsis. The muscles of body suffer severe pain and become quite tender and weak. Patients even find it difficult to move their legs or hands.

Tender Body Parts– Swelling, injury and pain is more often experienced by the patients in different parts of body. Stiffness and pain in joints is also experienced by the patient.

Nausea & Vomiting– Continuous feeling of nausea, abdominal anxiety and vomiting are some common symptoms of Rhabdomyolsis.

Fever– The patients of Rhabdomyolsis always suffer from high or low fever corresponding to the extent of breakdown of muscle mass. Patients suffer from ill health and start feeling exhausted even by doing some easy or simple tasks.

Irregular Heart Beat- The heart beat of patient increases considerably and is quite irregular accompanied by chest pain in some cases.

Dehydration– Due to breakdown of muscle mass, the patient looses considerable amount of water from body. This in turn leads to the severe dehydration of the body. Consequently, the patients may also suffer from unconsciousness and dizziness.

Change in Urine Output– As a result of excessive dehydration, the urine output becomes little or even equal to zero. As a result to release of myoglobin into urine, the color of urine also changes and becomes dark red or coco colored.

Confusion– Due to poor health, the patients of Rhabdomyolsis are not able to concentrate on anything for long time and hence get distracted easily. Consequently, they feel confused more often

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