ZocdocAnswersCan alcoholism lead to Rhabdomyolysis?

Question

Can alcoholism lead to Rhabdomyolysis?

I was diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis. As an alcoholic, could my drinking have contributed to this?

Answer

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition characterized by muscle necrosis and the release of intracellular muscle proteins and other cellular constituents into the blood stream. This disease most often occurs due to direct muscle injury either from traumatic crush injures or by direct pressure on a muscle over an extended period of time. The major complication of rhabdomyolysis is damage to the kidneys due to the release of a large molecule called myoglobin from damaged muscle cells. The severity of the disease varies widely, from asymptomatic biochemical abnormalities in the blood (elevated Myoglobin and Creatinine Kinase) all the way to irreversible kidney damage and renal failure. You are correct in identifying that alcohol abuse can be related to the development of rhabdomyolysis. Alcoholism is a serious disease wherein patients exhibit a pattern of drinking that is repetitively destructive to their social, family, or personal life. Alcoholics very frequently use alcohol to the point that they lose consciousness. Occasionally, when a person is unconscious and motionless on a hard surface for an extended period of time (as is often the case when a person passes out from alcohol abuse), rhabdomyolysis can develop. Both alcoholism and rhabdomyolysis are serious diseases and require evaluation by a specialty physician to assess the severity of illness and to recommend the appropriate treatments. The morbidity and mortality of active alcoholism is among the highest of any disease. Any actively drinking alcoholic should be evaluated immediately by a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction.

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