Teen diagnosed with deadly illness after apparently working out too hard at the gym
When doing any kind of physical exercise, it's always important to pace yourself. It doesn't matter whether you're lifting heavy boxes at work or heading out for a jog in the evening: neither task will be made easier by trying to do too much, too soon.
Of course, if you've ever attempted to do either of those things, you'll know why it's advised against. It's so easy to pull a muscle or strain your joints if you're not warmed up enough, and doing too much for too long will almost always do you more harm than good.
Sometimes, though, the damage can be a little more serious than a few achy muscles.
Jared Shamburger, a 17-year-old boy from Texas, recently developed a life-threatening illness after attempting to "go hard fast" at the gym.
"Everything hurt," Shamburger said. "It hurt to the touch. It was swollen."
The teen recently signed up to his local gym and was hoping to follow in the footsteps of his dad and brother - both of whom have been weightlifting for years. Rather than start slow and build up, however, Shamburger thought it would be a good idea to close the distance in experience between himself and his family members by lifting for 90 (ninety!) minutes at once.
"I gotta catch up to them and get as big as them," he said.
Unfortunately, his intense lifting session left him feeling more than just the typical post-workout burn. The soreness persisted and eventually got so severe that his mother, Judy Shamburger, became seriously concerned for his health. She recognised the symptoms and instantly suspected that the teenager had developed Rhabdomyolysis.
According to WebMD:
"Rhabdomyolysis is a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications such as renal (kidney) failure. This means the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death."
"The mama bear in me kind of took over and I called the pediatrician and said, ‘I really think my son has rhabdo,'" Judy said.
Her suspicions turned out to be absolutely right, and Shamburger had to be hospitalized immediately in order to prevent any further deterioration or damage to his kidneys. He spent five days in care, but - thankfully - is now expected to make a full recovery.
"If he hadn’t caught it, if he hadn’t told me, if we had just gone out of town about our way," Judy said, "I can’t even imagine. And I don’t want to, about what could have happened."
While exercise is obviously a key ingredient in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there is such a thing as doing too much. As with other activities that improve wellbeing - sleep, a controlled diet - a workout needs to be tailored to an individual's needs, and overdoing it at the gym (or even at work, if you have a particularly physical job) will probably damage your health in the long run.
Thankfully, Shamburger survived the ordeal, and has learned from his mistake. Other young people who are setting out to get in shape should also be wary of the condition, as it can sometimes prove to be deadly.