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Anemia Related To Exercise
A decreased number of
circulating red blood cells, or insufficient hemoglobin in the cells, caused from
participation in exercise. Anemia is also a
symptom of other disorders, and may interfere
with athletic performance. For proper treatment, the cause must be found.
- Participation in exercise such as prolonged, walking, running or cross- country skiing. The forces exerted on the red blood cells in the capillaries of the feet may rupture the blood
cells and lead to anemia.
- Other heavy physical exercise and exertion.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Malabsorption of iron from food.
- Profuse sweating.
- Age over 60.
- Recent illness with bleeding, such as an ulcer, diverticulitis, colitis, hemorrhoids or
Signs and symptoms
Sign of pronounced anemia:
- Decreased performance in maximum-effort activities.
- Tiredness and weakness.
- Paleness, especially in the hands and lining of
the lower eyelids.
Less common signs:
- Tongue Inflammation.
- Excessively rapid heartbeat with exercise.
- Appetite loss.
Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory blood studies every 2 months while involved in vigorous physical activity. Test should include studies of hemoglobin (see, Glossary), hemoglobin and red-blood-cell counts.
- X-rays of the gastrointestinal tract.
Your doctor may prescribe iron supplements:
- Take iron on an empty stomach (at least 1/2 hour before meals) for best absorption. If it upsets your stomach, you may take it with a small amount of food (except milk).
- If you take other medications, wait at least 2 hours after taking iron before taking them. Antacids and tetracycline especially interfere with iron absorption.
- Continue iron supplements until 2 to 3 months
after blood tests return to normal.
- Too much iron is dangerous. A bottle of iron tablets can poison a child. Keep iron supplements out of the reach of children.
- Maintain an adequate iron intake by eating a well-balanced diet or taking iron supplements.
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