A 23-year-old fitness fanatic is battling a deadly illness which was caused by excess gym training.
Kiana Alvarez found herself struggling to breathe and suffering with “super-intense” pain after a hard workout.
At first Kiana thought she had strained herself, but soon discovered she couldn’t stand up straight and wasn’t able to take a breath.
She recognised her own symptoms as rhabdomyolysis after reading about her bodybuilding and CrossFitting idol, Dana Linn Bailey, who shared her experience of the condition over a year before.
Rhabdomyolysis is a rare and potentially life-threatening syndrome which breaks down muscles and destroys the kidneys, the Daily Star reports.
Bailey told her 2million Instagram followers in April 2019: “I’m an athlete and I’m also super competitive with myself, so of course I’m going to push myself as hard as I possibly can.
“I just didn’t know that something like this could even happen. I ACTUALLY OVERTRAINED. It’s actually kinda a real thing, who F****** knew!!! Lol.
“I didn’t realise there was anything wrong until about five days later. To me it just felt like a really good cardio workout.
“I think I even trained legs after that workout, and I also trained the rest of the week”.
Kiana asked to be tested for “rhabdo” and it was discovered her creatine kinase levels in her blood – which is released when cells are damaged – were dangerously high.
“I hassled the doctors to test me for it when they didn’t know what else could be wrong,” she told the Saturday Telegraph.
Kiana said the creatine kinase levels were about 40 times the normal level – about 10,000 instead of 200 and ‘all they could do was pump me with IV fluids’.
Rhabdo causes kidney failure and heart damage, and is often seen in military recruits and athletes who continue to exert themselves past the point of fatigue.
The condition is usually diagnosed in a hospital and treated with intravenous fluids to help produce enough urine and prevent kidney failure, according to the Australian government.
Kiana said she was not drinking enough water prior to her diagnosis, and she “always trained before eating in the morning” and “was really dehydrated”.
“They started to die. That’s what happens; it kills your muscles slowly and the fluid leaks into your kidneys and liver,” she told the Saturday Telegraph.
And she added: “I got the all clear to go back into training so knowing me I’m straight back into the gym but just taking it easy for now.”