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Working out and anemia

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Old 08-05-2003, 01:33 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: California
Posts: 143
amwood HB User
Post Working out and anemia

Hey everyone...I've noticed that a lot of us on this board are pretty active despite being anemic. I was at the gym today and noticed that I was having a hard time finishing my workout - I'm having labwork done next week but I was wondering if anyone has had the same problems working out? Was it related to your iron levels? I hate not knowing if I'm just tired or if my hgb has dropped again! I'd really like to stick with my workouts as long as I can, but I'd hate to be making things worse while I'm running...but I'd also hate to stop working out if I'm just tired and it's not related to the anemia! Suggestions/advice anyone? Thanks

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Old 08-06-2003, 05:06 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 89
QuietStorm4000 HB User

Hi again amwood! I'm a gym rat myself and the anemia can sure get in the way of a workout! When my levels drop I notice a shortness of breath while exercising. I often have to get off the machine to catch my breath. An hour's workout can then last and hour and a half!! I also notice that I stop running outdoors and switch to walking. I notice these changes even when I'm not yet anemic but my iron levels are really low. My dr. says I should be symptom free if I'm not anemic. I've not found that to be the case. When I first went to him and complained about the SOB while exercising he said "It's probably a fitness issue." THAT'S when I let him have it!! I explained that I'd been a die hard fitness fan for YEARS and I could out run and out lift him on my worst of blood days!! He's listened a lot better since that. He also said that it wasn't necessary to cut back on my exercising due to the anemia. He claims that my body would only do what it could. I'm not sure I agree with this one either. I don't care how tired I am I go to the gym anyway.
Quiet Storm

Old 08-06-2003, 09:28 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: California
Posts: 143
amwood HB User

Hey Quietstorm! Wow, once again it sounds like we're very similar - I'll also go to the gym no matter how tired I am...I'm certaintly not going to live my life around this anemia crap! I can't believe that doctor had the nerve to tell you it was a "fitness issue" instead of listening to what you were really saying! Unbelievable! I try to go to the gym as often as possible, and I've noticed that even when my iron isn't that low I'll get tired quickly...and I'm also a runner/swimmer so it's not a fitness issue for me either!! I'm wondering if maybe it's a sign of things going back down slowly or not enough iron stores...I'm not sure, but it's nice to know someone else has the same problems I do, even when we're supposedly "somewhat healthy". I talked about this with my doctor, and she really didn't have much to offer other than if I'm tired I should listen to my body and stop exercising. Unfortunately I usually have a hard time stopping since I'm not sure if it's related to the anemia or if I should just push through it and keep running. At one point when my hemoglobin was low and I was working out I developed a heart murmer and my doctor was pretty strict in her "no work out" policy at that time. Well once again I am reminded that medicine is still a big guessing game...
How are your levels doing? Have you seen your hematologist lately? I'll be seeing my doctor next week for a CBC again...hopefully I'm holding my own

Old 08-07-2003, 03:20 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 89
QuietStorm4000 HB User

My hematologist gave me a two month break since the levels have been holding. He's just shaken his head during my last couple of visits 'cause my iron is at an all time low BUT my Hgl and Hct scores have been within range. Go figure! Every visit I expect him to force me into the backroom and tie me up!! But, I keep squeaking through. It's been 9 months since my last infusion!
I know what you mean about feeling whooped--you never know if it's emotional exhaustion (I've got 3 kids)or anemic exhaustion. I work out regardless 'cause I figure as soon as I give in there's no going back. I do enjoy my jaunts to the gym but they rarely "energize" me like they're supposed to. I usually come home and collapse on the couch afterwards! If I go out for a run and end up walking I feel like a whimp. I refuse to give in!!
Quiet Storm

Old 09-06-2003, 06:56 AM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 5
KarenMarie HB User

Hi All,

Having just entered post anemia and having read the messages on these boards, I am beginning to wonder if the workout rate I was at before everything bottomed out, will be really possible for me to work up to again...I danced at least 2 times a week, swam and did general aerobic excercises - even when the anemia was discovered I kept pushing myself...Though I must say that for the first 5-6 months of being anemic, I was in bed totally wiped out for a week at time every month...

Anyway, if you all would be so kind to read what I posted under the main topic: anemia, and share any insights or suggestions, I would be very grateful...

Post from main topic: anemia....

Hi Everyone,
I will try to make a 16 month living nitemare a short story...Approximately 16 months ago, I underwent two surgery's...Gallbladder and a sphinterectomy...I had an acute case of pancreanitis, and my liver was infected...The doctors at the hospital thought I was a serious alcoholic because my enzyme levels were out of this world...During this hospital stay it was discovered I was anemic...On the rating scale used, a normal iron blood count was between 149-164...I tested out at 1 on this scale in the hospital and a 3 a couple of weeks later...

I was put on iron which did a number on my stomach and when I couldn't take the constant upset stomach anymore, I would go off the iron for a week or so...Anyway, I more or less stayed on the iron for the prescribed years time, and I now take a multivitamin - I take iron during my period for an extra boost since I tend to very heavy periods...

During this past 16 months since the onset of all this, I have had a need in one way or another to be on some pretty strong antibiotics for bronchitis, bacterial infections, sinus infections, urinary tract infections and the list goes on...

I have put weight on, my skin at times is so itchy I can't take it, I get inwardly very shaky and a sense that my adrenalin is going like wildfire yet, my body is chronically tired ect..ect..ect...

On one hand the anemia, bad gallbladder, liver and pancrease inflammations are all dealt with - but, I just haven't been able to consistently spring back to the point I was at before all this began...

I also have what is known as SAD, seasonal affective disorder and last winter it was really bad...My primary doctor had prescribed various antidepressants for what he calls a chemical imbalance...He more or less has been telling me that is what I have had for at least the past four years...I will not get on the hit or miss antidepressant cycle for various reasons...

I am sort of at a standstill with even bothering to go to the doctors as I have witnessed to many of the nitemares other people go through; I don't at this time have health insurance and cannot afford to just waste money on the nothing but question marks at the end of testing...But, bottom line, I feel there must be something constructive that I can do to understand all that is still going on with me...

Any thoughts anyone?

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