Twenty eight-year-old Dr Amaresh Shah (name changed) never thought that his attempt to stay fit would land him in a hospital with acute kidney failure.
A week ago, Shah rushed to Kohinoor Hospital at Kurla when he suffered from breathlessness and decreased urine output. Consultant nephrologist Dr Aseem Thamba, who treated Shah, said, “We found out that he had high creatinine level in his blood which indicated abnormal kidney function.”
Shah was immediately shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and put on dialysis. “On investigation, we found out that Shah had a history of strenuous exercise. This practice causes Rhabdomyolysis — breakdown of muscle fibres which leads to the release of muscle fibre contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidneys and often causes kidney damage,” added Dr Thamba.
Shah had to undergo 7-8 dialysis sessions and is now fit to resume work. “His kidneys are now functioning normally. It is a very unusual but an important case because people should know that abrupt strenuous workout may lead to kidney failure,” said Dr Thamba.
Apart from kidney failure, strenuous exercise can also lead to cardiac problems. According to doctors, along with body building, one should give time for some aerobic exercise like swimming, running and jogging which helps in increasing the heartbeat and bring down the risk of cardiac arrest by improving blood flow.
“The biggest problem is the anabolic steroids that are abused. Ninety percent of people who want six-pack abs go for these steroids that help them in repeatedly exercising for muscle-making.
These steroids can not only cause cancer and liver problems but a person can also develop hypertension. They also lead to water retension, blood thickening and heart attacks. Those patients who have family history of sudden cardiac deaths should not indulge in high-intensity exercise without consulting a doctor,” said Dr Kaushal Chhatrapati, consulting interventional cardiologist from Prince Aly Khan Hospital.
For most urban professionals, sedentary lifestyle and weight gain are major culprits. But over exercising can prove counter-productive. Dr Dilip Nadkarni, orthopaedic at Lilavati Hospital, said, “Treadmills are not for beginners but for fit people. However, people who are overweight go for treadmills and injure their knees. Many buy treadmills for their home thinking it is the easiest way to exercise.”
Dos and Don’ts
Warm up by doing simple stretches before exercising. This can help prevent knee muscle damage.
Wear shoes with good insoles. If you are flat-footed, ensure that the arch of your foot is cushioned well.
Yoga and stretching exercise are better options. They exercise all the muscles and keeps them flexible.
People above 35 years of age should be more cautious while using treadmills. It’s great for the heart, but puts undue pressure on your knees.
Walking up an incline on a treadmill is a bad idea. When you walk on level ground, your body weight is distributed well on both legs. Climbing an incline puts pressure on your joints, shifting body weight on one knee.
Don’t talk while exercising and concentrate on your postures.
Breathing is an important aspect of fitness training, especially in the case of weight training and yoga.
A good time to stretch is immediately after an exercise session, while the body is still warm.
Stretching increases flexibility and relaxes the muscles.