THE DEATH OF 30 year old bodybuilder and fitness influencer, Jo Lindner, otherwise known as Joesthetics, has sparked curiosity about his rare condition, rippling muscle disease, or RMD. His death comes as a shock to his fans after his girlfriend posted Saturday that he had passed due to an aneurysm.
The cause of the aneurysm is not yet known, but is not suspected to be due to his RMD. Lindner publicly spoke about having rippling muscle disease on podcasts and Instagram posts. Here’s what you need to know about this rare condition.
What Is Rippling Muscle Disease?
RMD is a genetic, neuromuscular condition that effects the irritability of muscles. In it’s classic form, the disease is characterized by “muscle stiffness after exercise or in cold temperatures, inability to walk on the heels, tiptoe walking with pain, calf hypertrophy, and percussion or pressure-induced rapid contractions, or rippling,” says Julia Louisa Iafrate, D.O., Sports Medicine Physician at NYU Langone Health.
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This rippling effect is the most obvious symptom, and occurs when a muscle is stretched. The muscle will respond by rapidly contracting, or rippling, for about 5 to 20 seconds. External pressure, like a bump to the muscle, can also cause the muscle to “bunch up, or muscle mound, or exhibit rapid tensing,” Iafrate says.
In most cases, the muscles closest to the abdomen are more affected, and the condition does not increase the chances of muscular injury. It also does not cause muscle weakness, but individuals may become more sedentary due to the pain of everyday movements. The exact cause of RMD is not yet known. The first records of it were documented in 1975, and more research needs to be done. It is hypothesized to have something to do with the mechanisms that causes muscle contractions, Iafrate says.
Most of the research has found that RMD only affects the skeletal muscles, but there is a small amount of research that suggests that it may also affect cardiac muscle. “Thus it is possible that cardiac dysfunction and potentially lethal arrhythmias can be present in some individuals with RMD. In these cases, cardiomyopathy is often the main cause of morbidity, but not necessarily mortality,” Iafrate says.
Because of this, it is recommended that people with RMD be monitored for potentially lethal cardiac issues, Iafrate says. “We do not know the specific form that [Lindner] had, so it is difficult to say if his aneurysm was secondary to this disorder versus due to another cause.”
In general, RMD is not considered to be fatal. But as of now, there is no cure or viable treatment for RMD beyond pain management.
Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.