JAMES G. STEWART, B.S.; DAVID A. AHLQUIST, M.D.; DOUGLAS B. McGILL, M.D.; DUANE M. ILSTRUP, M.S.; SAMUEL SCHWARTZ, M.D.; RICHARD A. OWEN, M.D.
Iron deficiency, with or without anemia, occurs commonly in long-distance runners, but the cause is unknown. The recent development of a simple quantitative assay for fecal hemoglobin, HemoQuant, allowed us to study whether gastrointestinal bleeding occurs in runners. Blood and stool samples were collected from 24 runners before and after a race of 10 to 42.2 km and from age- and sex-matched, nonrunning controls. The mean blood hemoglobin level and hematocrit were significantly lower in runners than in controls. Serum ferritin levels were below normal in 4 runners but in no controls. Fecal hemoglobin levels increased in 20 of 24 runners (p < 0.01) after a race. Mean fecal hemoglobin level was 1.08 mg/g (range, 0.11 to 2.36) in controls and 0.99 mg/g (0.18 to 2.41) in runners before a race, but peaked at 3.96 mg/g (0.37 to 43.20) after a race. Competitive long-distance running induces gastrointestinal blood loss and may contribute to iron deficiency.
STEWART JG, AHLQUIST DA, McGILL DB, et al. Gastrointestinal Blood Loss and Anemia in Runners. Ann Intern Med. 1984;100:843–845. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-100-6-843
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1984;100(6):843-845.
Hematology/Oncology, Red Cell Disorders.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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