Staying hydrated but still cramping?
Cramping is a bane of the endurance athlete and weekend warrior alike. It can ruin a record pace or be a painful end to your favorite activities. Often simply staying hydrated and keeping your ‘electrolytes’ balanced is the best way to stop it, but if you’re doing that and still cramping, then there may be another cause.
Gitelman syndrome is a rare genetic defect that affects kidney function. The genetic mutation seen in Gitelman cause the kidneys to lose too much of the electrolytes Magnesium and Potassium in the urine. Some of the earliest signs of low Magnesium and Potassium levels are severe cramping in the arms and legs. These symptoms may be worsened by strenuous exercise. Other symptoms include frequent or nighttime urination and abnormal heart rhythms if Potassium or Magnesium become very low. Though it is not curable, Gitelman syndrome is very treatable with medication and supplementation. if you feel like you’ve tried everything and excessive cramping is still interfering with your training think about getting a second opinion. Dr Carfagno is knowledgeable in the field of internal medicine as it relates to athletes.
F. Ashton Taylor, MS4, Midwestern University AZCOM
Dave Carfagno, DO, CAQSM Scottsdale Sports Medicine
Emmet, Michael, MD, ‘Bartter and Gitelman syndromes’, UpToDate, Feb 24, 2015.