Understanding Rhabdomyolysis: Causes, Signs and Symptoms

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Understanding the Syndrome, Complications, and Nursing Considerations
Mild muscle pain can be a common side effect of physical means, such as intense workouts, over usage of muscle, and/or blocked blood vessels, or by chemical means, such as toxins, heat or drugs. Oftentimes, people who experience muscle aches can easily pinpoint the cause due to their knowledge of the stress, tension, or physical activity they have endured. Rhabdomyolysis, or dissolution of skeletal muscle, is a syndrome caused by injury to skeletal muscle and involves the leakage of large quantities of potentially toxic intracellular contents into plasma (Muscal, 2013). In contrast to mild muscle pain, Rhabdomyolysis, commonly known as ‘Rhabdo’, may
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Process of Rhabdomyolysis
As previously stated Rhabdomyolysis can be caused from numerous injuries but it is ultimately the breakdown of muscle tissue that leads to life threatening conditions such as Acute Renal Failure. The process of muscle breakdown leads to depletion of Adenosine Triphosphate, which is where muscles receive their energy, and increased levels of potassium, creatine kinase, urate and myoglobin (Sauret, 2002). In addition to electrolyte disturbances causing toxicity leading to the breakdown of muscle tissue, the increase number of neutrophils from the inflammatory process amplifies muscle damage (Muscal, 2013). Acute Kidney Failure occurs because the increased levels of myoglobin, a large protein, that precipitates in the kidney tubules leading to obstruction that eventually leads to necrosis (Sauret, 2002).
Causes of Rhabdomyolysis
Although there are myriad causes of Rhabdomyolysis, the most common causes include the usage of alcohol or illicit drugs, extreme muscle strain, especially in someone who is an untrained athlete, a crush injury (e.g. auto accident, fall, or building collapse), long-lasting muscle compression, and/or the use of drugs (e.g. corticosteroids or statins, especially when given in high doses). (Muscal, 2013).
Trauma-related events that are particularly likely to lead to
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