Exercising With Hereditary Spherocytosis

Exercising With Hereditary Spherocytosis

Hereditary spherocytosis is a genetic disorder characterized by rigidity and malformation of red blood cells that are destroyed by the spleen. Exercising when you have this condition can be difficult because of the lack of red cells that carry oxygen. A doctor can monitor exercise tolerance during annual check-ups, especially in children. The size of the spleen is also monitored in the case of children to determine if it is necessary to remove it surgically to stop the destruction of red blood cells.


Hereditary spherocytosis usually does not require treatment, but can cause anemia; in people of northern European descent is the number 1 cause of hemolytic anemia, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Hemolytic anemia occurs when too many red cells are destroyed. If you have a mild form of anemia, you may experience symptoms only when you exercise. Usually, only people with severe cases of anemia have symptoms during rest. Symptoms may include weakness, paleness and fatigue. More severe cases of anemia can cause dizziness, rapid breathing, fainting and increased thirst. You can also have cramps in your lower legs when you exercise.


In some cases exercise may not be advisable if a person has hereditary spherocytosis. Exercise (particularly in endurance sports) can exacerbate mild hereditary spherocytosis, according to an article published in Seminars in Hematology in April 2004. Pregnancy, enlarged spleen and parvovirus infection can also worsen the condition. mild hereditary spherocytosis. A range of conditions from liver diseases to certain types of cancer can cause enlargement of the spleen. A parvovirus infection is a very contagious childhood disease recognized primarily for causing a distinctive rash on the face. People with moderate hereditary spherocytosis sometimes have difficulty with physical activities.

Decreased capacity

You may experience a decrease in capacity during exercise if you have hereditary spherocytosis. Two middle distance runners and a cross-country skier suffered a decline in their capacity caused by hereditary spherocytosis according to an article published in the Scandinavian Journal of Haematology in April 2009. The three athletes experienced a decrease in their ability to Exercise during frequent competitions and times of intense exercise. The athletes had family members with hereditary spherocytosis although the members of their families did not experience symptoms.Athletes who experience frequent decreases in hemoglobin levels during intense exercise should talk to their doctors to test for hereditary spherocytosis.


Cycling can be a safe way to exercise for people with hereditary spherocytosis. A study published in the Scandinavian Journal in Clinical and Laboratory Investment in June 1980 compared the effects of cycling in healthy people and those with hereditary spherocytosis. Participants exercised on bicycles at moderate intensity. The tests before and 20 minutes after exercise revealed that there was no significant increase in the destruction of red cells in the two groups of people observed, as well as no other differences between them.


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