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What's your hematocrit?(9 posts)

What's your hematocrit?burnan
May 3, 2001 10:25 AM
I have a physical/blood work every year through my work. With all the doping scandals I took notice of my hematocrit. This year mine was 48.6%. I live in WV (far from high altitude)and have never trained at altitude. My question is what kind of increase could a cyclist expect to see if they train at altitude? It makes me wonder about the 50% threshold of the UCI.
re: What's your hematocrit?/i'm legal??TC
May 3, 2001 10:51 AM
the last 2 blood workups showed me at 44.6 and 48.2. I usually get my blood work done in Oct/Nov so that is my downtime. I'm wondering what it would be during my peak training. I'd say a 2-3% gain for altitude would be about right??

It's your red blood cell count.Smart A.
May 3, 2001 12:55 PM
No need to thank me. I enjoy educating people.
Hematocrit Revealedjbatman
May 4, 2001 6:57 AM
You hematocrit is the percent volume of red blood cells in the total volume of your blood. Your red blood cell count is a found by counting the number of RBC's on a blood smear. Hematocrit is found by centrifuging a sample of your blood which forces RBC's to the bottom, and then measuring the total volume of RBC's as a percent of total volume.

In studies with elite athletes, your hematocrit actually decreases with training (at constant altitude). This is basically due to the fact that your total blood volume expands. At high altitude, a lot of things happen. Your hematocrit goes up, but not that much. Your heart becomes stronger pumping more blood through your body at a faster rate. Its been found that some of the effects of altitude training are only temporary and are lost within weeks to months of returning to lower altitude.

As far as the 50% cut off for hematocrit testing, this is a value above which there are serious risks of vascular accidents (strokes, heart attacks, etc.) because there is too much material in your blood. Unfortunately, a well trained cyclist taking EPO may only raise his/her hematocrit to say 48%, thus escaping detection. We'll see how the new EPO drug test works.
I bet you're chronicly dehydratedCarlos
May 4, 2001 8:16 AM
and are likely to suffer from stroke and heart attack.
34. Trying to correct this with the doc...Bruno S
May 4, 2001 3:52 PM
Currently I'm anemic but its not from low iron. Could be the thyroid. Could be something with my bone marrow. Procrit (EPO) could be a possible treatment to raise my hematocrit to a normal level. The doctor will prescribe it and my medical plan will pay for it. Currently I ride about 80-100 miles a week, I also run and do weights. I can keep up with my club's A group during training rides. Can't wait to to have this health problem solved. My performance should increase dramatically.
strokes, heart attacks, jam for bloodsteveuk
May 5, 2001 5:50 PM
above 50% your blood is getting into jam territory and you die in your sleep (when your heart is resting) from the blood being too viscous to flow properly. A painless death...but you'll be doing no more riding after that I'd think.
May 7, 2001 4:26 PM
Had it tested a few times over the winter and averaged about 52 on the tests. This was in an untrained state and I live at a low altitude (~900ft). I'm flying to CO and doing a race at altitude in two weeks (~7000ft). I don't have the opportunity to adjust to the new altitude but most of my opponents won't either. Would my high hematocrit levels give me any kind of advantage in this situation? Just curious.
52Bruno S
May 7, 2001 9:26 PM
You should have an advantage since people that live/train at altitude have higher HCT levels to compensate for the lower levels of oxigen in the air. You have, by nature, a very high HCT that should help you to adapt to altitute faster and perform better.