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Sports Anemia

Synonyms

Exercise induced iron deficiency; Athletic induced anemia; Sports anemia

Definition

Exercise induced anemia is a condition diagnosed in apparently healthy athletes who display low hematological values (red cell count, hemoglobin [Hb] and hematocrit), believed to be a result of compromised iron stores. As such, oxygen transport and utilization by the working skeletal muscle may be compromised, which may ultimately cause decrements to athletic performance.

Background

Iron is a component of Hb and myoglobin that plays a critical role in oxygen transport around the body and oxygen utilization by the cells. Despite the ubiquitous demand for this trace element, iron deficiency is the world’s most common nutritional disorder, and it affects a large proportion of the athletic community. Recently, chronic intense physical activity has been suggested to jeopardize iron stores, possibly leading to exercise induced anemia. As such, iron deficiency may compromise the production