If you’re making the time to work out regularly, you’re likely feeling some awesome changes in your body and mind. But working out too hard can have some scary side effects that you may not even know about.
A Texas teen was recently hospitalized with a potentially life-threatening illness after working out. The condition is called rhabdomyolysis, or rhabdo for short, and often comes on suddenly after severe exertion due to exercise. Jared Shamburger, 17, began lifting weights at a gym and wanted to quickly “catch up” with his dad and older brother who have both been lifting for years. However, he began experiencing muscle soreness and swelling after a 90-minute workout. Jared told Houston CBS affiliate KTRK that he felt “super duper sore,” adding, “Everything hurt. It hurt to the touch. It was swollen.”
Jared’s mom did some online research and found that all signs seemed so point to rhabdo, so she called his pediatrician. She was right, and Jared was soon hospitalized for five whole days. He’s luckily on the mend now, but rhabdo is a potentially deadly condition.
According to WebMD, the condition occurs when an injury causes muscle fibers to break down, and those fibers are released into the bloodstream. If not treated quickly enough, this can lead to kidney damage or even death.
Rhabdo can be caused by muscle trauma due to overexertion, but also due to certain infections and dehydration, with symptoms ranging from muscle pain and soreness in one or more parts of the body, muscle weakness or an inability to move certain body parts, dark red or brown urine or decreased urination, abdominal pain or nausea, fever, or rapid heart rate — though some people experience little or no muscle-related symptoms.
Early diagnosis and treatment is key for ensuring a positive outcome, so if you feel any sort of pain or weakness that doesn’t feel right to you after a strenuous workout, check in with your doctor ASAP.
Listening to your body is crucial in preventing overexertion, so you can continue to crush it in the gym — safely.