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A super-fit woman is battling a rare illness which came on after she excessively trained in the gym.
Kiana Alvarez is a keen CrossFitter and a few days after a "really, really hard workout" she began experiencing "super-intense" pain and found herself struggling to breathe.
The 23-year-old thought she had strained herself but when she struggled to stand up straight and wasn't able to take a full breath that she went to the doctors.
Alvarez recognised her own symptoms as rhabdomyolysis after reading about her US 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 hosts kidneys.
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 Fxcking 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".
Alvarez asked to be testes 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.
Alvarez 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.
Ms Alvarez 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.
Adding: "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."
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