Haff’s disease: what it is, symptoms and treatment

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Haff’s disease is a rare disease that happens suddenly and is characterized by the rupture of muscle cells, which leads to the appearance of some signs and symptoms such as pain and muscle stiffness, numbness, shortness of breath and black urine, similar to coffee.

The causes of Haff’s disease are still under debate, however the development of Haff’s disease is believed to be due to some biological toxin present in freshwater fish and crustaceans.

It is important that this disease is identified and treated quickly, because the disease can evolve quickly and bring complications to the person, such as kidney failure and multiple organ failure. Learn more about Haff’s disease in the following video:

Symptoms of Haff’s Disease

Symptoms of Haff’s disease appear between 2 to 24 hours after consumption of well-cooked but contaminated fish or crustaceans, and are related to the destruction of muscle cells, the main ones being:

  • Pain and stiffness in the muscles, which is very severe and comes on suddenly;
  • Very dark, brown or black urine, similar to the color of coffee;
  • Numbness;
  • loss of strength;

In the presence of these symptoms, especially if darkening of the urine is noticed, it is important for the person to consult a general practitioner so that it is possible to evaluate the symptoms and perform tests that help confirm the diagnosis.

The tests normally indicated in the case of Haff’s disease are the dosage of the TGO enzyme, tests that evaluate kidney function and the dosage of creatine phosphokinase (CPK), which is an enzyme that acts in the muscles and has its levels increased when there is any change. in muscle tissue. Thus, in Haff’s disease, CPK levels are much higher than what is considered normal, making it possible to confirm the diagnosis of the disease. Learn more about the CPK exam.

Possible causes

The causes of Haff’s disease are not fully known, however it is believed that the disease is related to the consumption of fish and crustaceans possibly contaminated with some thermostable toxin, this is because people diagnosed with this disease consumed these foods a few hours before eating. appearance of symptoms.

Because this biological toxin is thermostable, it would not be destroyed in the cooking or frying process, and could cause the cellular damage related to Haff’s disease.

As the toxin does not change the taste of the food, does not change its color, nor is it destroyed by the normal cooking process, it is possible for people to consume these fish or crustaceans without even knowing if they are contaminated. Some of the fish that were consumed by patients diagnosed with Haff’s disease include Arabaiana, Tambaqui, Pacu-Manteiga and Pirapitinga.

How is the treatment done?

It is important that the treatment of Haff’s disease is started as soon as the first symptoms appear, because in this way it is possible to prevent the progression of the disease and the emergence of complications.

Normally, it is recommended that the person stay well hydrated within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of symptoms, as in this way it would be possible to reduce the concentration of the toxin in the blood and favor its elimination through the urine.

In addition, the use of analgesics may be recommended to relieve pain and discomfort, as well as diuretic drugs to promote urine production and promote cleansing of the body.

Complications of Haff’s Disease

The most common complications of Haff’s disease arise when proper treatment is not given and include acute kidney failure and compartment syndrome, which happens when there is an increase in blood pressure in a specific part of the body, which can put the muscles at risk. and nerves in that region.

For this reason, it is very important to go to the hospital or consult a doctor whenever there is a suspicion of Haff’s disease, to start the appropriate treatment and avoid the emergence of complications.

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Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

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The translator user relied on the following text:

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Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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