Running the Race to Obtain the Prize?
Each year athletes ability to perform seems to increase by leaps and bounds. Some reasons for this can be attributed to better training methods, better conditioning techniques, and better over all health of the athlete. While most situations involve one or more of the previously scenarios, some athletes always seem to take it to a step further. They engage in a process called blood doping. This procedure does increase physical performance and athletic ability, but potentially may do more harm than good.
For purpose of emphasis and understanding, some background information is needed to fully understand exactly what blood doping can do for an individual. In order for muscles to perform, they need a ready supply of oxygen. During high intensity exercise, oxygen is depleted and the body can not get enough oxygen to the muscle in order for them to perform their optimal potential. This lack of ability to get oxygen to the muscle is called oxygen debt and results in lactic acid being formed. Lactic acid is a waste product of anaerobic cellular respiration within the muscle tissue, which can cause muscle sourness that, usually, is felt after a hard or long workout. Fatigue usually sets in with the onset of lactic acid production. Oxygen is carried to the muscle by two delivery systems. Three percent of oxygen is carried in plasma and ninety-seven percent is in hemoglobin, the principal protein in erythrocytes (red blood cells). If hemoglobin amounts are increased, this will lead to increased oxygen levels that can be transported to the muscles. Allowing the muscles to become more fatigue resistant.
Blood doping could have opposite effect of those intended. A large infusion of red blood cells could increase blood thickness and cause a decrease in cardiac output and a reduction in oxygen content. Both would reduce aerobic capacity. The human heart was not designed to pump thickened blood throughout the body and, therefore, it could lead to a multitude of problems. The diseases that can be contracted from autologous blood transfusion are severe. Even more frightening is the list of diseases that can be contracted through homologous blood transfusion. It includes hepatitis, AIDS, malaria, and CMV. In addition, shock is a factor to be aware of.
All blood doping procedures used in attempt to improve athletic performance is unethical and unfair. Taking a risk like blood doping to win a race is sad. It shows you as being to compulsive and to hard on yourself. Blood doping is for cheaters that cannot work hard enough for what they want. In basketball practice Coach Higgins always says, If you want it you got to be ready to work for it. We know that when he says work it means run hard and dive for the lose balls. We know its going to be hard. We just go with the flow and take it as it comes. Blood doping is a risk. It should not be considered for health and moral reasons.
There is also several other negative factors related to blood doping. It is said that any procedure that involves taking the blood out and putting it back in can be a serous health risk. The transfusion can result in bacterial infections, fatal reactions due to blood mislabeling stroke, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and blood clots. These health problems are very dangerous and are the reason why blood doping is banned. Proof that the procedure works is not etched in stone. If there is negative effects, it doesnt work right?
Although blood doping is risky, it has some positive effects. Blood doping also has been proven to be advantageous for heat acclimated athletes, aiding in thermoregulation. The athletes that are used to the heat can get help maintaining a natural body heat different from the heat of the environment. In addition, blood doping is similar to other methods of raising red blood cell volume. Training at a high altitude will have the same effect. Also, the High Altitude Bed is the same. Since it is legal, safe and natural, the mentioned procedure of red blood cell enhancement it has ironically gained the name Holistic Blood Doping. Blood doping