Athletes a higher RBC count can dramatically improve

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Last updated: July 24, 2019

Athletesthat push their bodies to the furthest extent of their performance sometimestry other methods to allow them to perform better. Theywill try anything from using the latest training and recovery techniques,modifying diets and training at altitude in hopes of finding the idealperformance.

Many sportingorganizations have banned specific practices among competitive and professionalathletes that involve drugs or blood modification. Alegal method of improving athletic ability is carbohydrate loading. This is a strategy used by endurance athletes, such as runners orathletes that require a long period of intense respiration, to maximize thestorage of glycogen in the muscles, mainly, and liver.Topping up your glycogen stores before an event by carbo loading can prevent adecrease in performance due to in sufficient energy, leading to a potentialincrease in your energy and endurance. Sometimes this does not work as, if leftfor too long, the body will begin to store the glycogen as fat.  Another method,which is illegal is blood doping.

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This is a method of increasing athleticperformance by artificially increasing an athlete’s red blood cell (RBC) count.Because red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles, having a higher RBC countcan dramatically improve an athlete’s aerobic respiration ability. Athleteslooking for a way to boost their RBC initially turned to blood transfusions,where an athlete stored and re-infused their own oxygenated RBCs.

This has beenbanned in professional sports. The cyclist Lance Armstrong was accused of doingthis in the late 90s, before his races There aremany different types of drugs that some athletes take to give themselves anadvantage above others. Some examples are: A moremodern way of blood doping is by taking a drug called ‘Recombinanterythropoietin” or RhEPO. This drug artificially boosts the RBC count,originally for treating anaemic patients. It is a naturally occurring andessential hormone in the human body. It is produced in the kidneys and promptsthe production of the red blood cells. This hormone can also be injecteddirectly into the blood stream or skin.

Artificial RhEPO also does the samething and has been abused in the athletic community, first being recognised inthe 80s. Arterially injecting the drug can be detected by doing urine tests,however it is not very reliable as RhEPO is already in the blood. Although is soundsbeneficial, RhEPO is dangerous to inject into the bloodstream as it thickensthe blood, increasing the work required by the heart to pump the blood.

Therewas also an increased risk or large blood clots, strokes and heart attacks. Itis on the banned substances list in professional cycling, and riders areregularly tested, but, method to avoid detection are improving and it is themost commonly used banned substance. Some athletes take aform of steroids, known as anabolic-androgen steroids (or just anabolicsteroids) to increase their muscle mass and strength.

These steroids prompt theproduction of testosterone which has anabolic effects, promoting muscle growth,and androgenic effects, which are responsible to deep voices and facial hair.Using these drugs is just an alternating to injecting regular testosterone, itis a form of synthetic testosterone. They can also reduce the time taken forthe body to repair the muscles after strenuous exercise. Harder exercise canalso be done for longer.

 Another widely usedsteroid is called ‘Human Growth Hormone’, it is also known as gonadotropin, andit is also used for its anabolic effects, to improve muscle mass, but it doesnot effectively increase strength or endurance. And, drugs that falls into thecategory of narcotic analgesics are used as they block the body from detectingpain, allowing the athlete to ‘power through’. This can be very damaging to thebody as pain is a signal to stop that activity. Continuing could result inmajor irreversible damage.    Though someperformance enhancing drugs are not illegal giving yourself an advantage ischeating and generally bad decorum. This I morally wrong considering athletesare people who other look up to, not people who should promote drug use

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