A Corpus Christi, Texas woman’s workout triggered a rare but potentially deadly condition that required her to be hospitalized, according to a local report.
Jennifer Slusher told KRIS 6 News that she noticed an unusual amount of soreness following a recent arm workout. A few days later, the soreness progressed, eventually causing extreme pain and swelling.
“I started to have less flexibility in my arms [and] couldn’t straighten them out,” she told the news station. “I realized that something was really wrong,”
Slusher went to a local emergency room where she learned she was suffering from rhabdomyolysis — a “rare condition in which muscle cells break down and release a substance into the blood that can lead to kidney failure,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
More specifically, a substance called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream as muscle breakdown. Too much myoglobin in the blood can lead to kidney damage, however.
“Myoglobin, when it reaches the kidneys, can block the tiny tubes within the kidneys, leading to serious kidney damage and, in some cases, kidney failure,” the Mayo Clinic explains.
The condition is often triggered by physical causes, such as a car accident or intense exercise. However, there are also genetic and chemical causes, and certain infections can also lead to the condition, according to Healthline. The exact cause of Slusher’s case of rhabdomyolysis was not made clear.
An estimated 26,000 cases of rhabdomyolysis are reported in the U.S. each year, according to a report on the condition. Symptoms often include painful muscle aches, muscle weakness and/or dark “cola-colored” urine.
Slusher said she was immediately treated with intravenous fluids to rid the kidneys of myoglobin. Other treatments — such as dialysis and certain medications — are used in more severe cases, according to Healthline.
Slusher said she hopes to raise awareness about the condition.
“I just think it needs to be part of the system that these coaches, trainers, and people that workout every day and lift need to know what it is,” she said.