We're talking about those who partake in the hottest workout on the planet. The fitness folk who don't think of burpees as a four-letter word. These elite fitness enthusiasts have mastered pullups, kettle bell swings, planks, and deadlifts and more. They speak in their own language that includes acronyms like WOD (workout of the day). They believe in quantity and quality.
They're the almighty Crossfit crew. And they are part of the hottest fitness trend this decade. However, an unofficial mascot has become a reminder of a serious health concern that can arise from extreme workouts like Cross Fit. That mascot is Uncle Rhabdo. Uncle Rhabdo is the poster figure of rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition that affects about 26,000 people per year.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle tissue that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood. These substances are harmful to the kidney and often cause kidney damage.”
Intense exercise is just one of the things that can lead to this condition. In addition, it can be caused by the following: trauma to the body (like a crushing injury), recreational drugs, statins, extreme body temperatures, genetic muscle diseases, low phosphate levels, lengthy surgery, seizures, and dehydration.
So just what happens when rhabdomyolysis occurs?
Rhabdomyolysis develops when one’s muscle is damaged. As a result, a protein called myoglobin travels into the bloodstream. This protein is then filtered out of the body by the kidneys. At this point, it converts to substances that can cause damage to kidney cells.