Elevated CPK and Working Out

Question

I just received a call from my doctor and he said that my CPK levels have been elevated. He didn’t say how high they were or how i can lower them. I have been working out a lot lately as well as the workouts have been picking up in intensity. I haven’t been having any pain in my muscles and aside from being sore a day or 2 after workouts, I feel fine. Is there any way that I can bring them down?

Answer

The CPK blood test is a muscle enzyme (chemical) that is found specifically inside muscle cells.  Everyone has a certain level of CPK in their blood because of the normal turnover of muscle cells.  People with more muscles have a higher level of CPK in the blood.  Anything that damages muscle cells can increase the CPK in the blood.  Trauma, heavy workouts (seen in soldiers who march for long periods), intramuscular injections, alcohol, viral infections, autoimmune diseases called myositis.  Some drugs such as cholesterol drugs (statins) can cause muscle damage as a rare side effect.  There are also people with genetic problems who have an increase tendency to raise thier CPK after exercise, but this rarely is a problem.  In short answer to your question, it depends on how high the CPK level, and if it is signficantly high, then there needs ot be an evaluation of why.  I would speak with your doctor

Alan Matsumoto, M.D.

About Alan Matsumoto, M.D.

Part-time Faculty, Division of Rheumatology
Johns Hopkins University