Ronny Paulino of the New York Mets is about to come off the 15 day disabled list for anemia. I found this fascinating as I cannot find the underlying cause of the anemia stated anywhere. He’s had a history of performance enhancing drug usage, but press reports say this is unrelated.
Sandy Alderson, the New York Mets GM said:
He was seeing a hematologist this morning. The biopsies that were done came back negative, which is a real positive result. He saw the gastroenterologist yesterday, and at this point can’t exercise. He needs to get his blood count up. I’m not a doctor, but I think that requires two things: No. 1, plugging up the holes; and No. 2 taking medication — iron and other things.
Scary stuff, indeed.
How does anemia affect athletics? Well, let’s answer the first big question right out of the gate:
What is anemia? Anemia is a marked decrease in red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying the oxygen around your body and the hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that make this magic happen. Ok, it’s not magic, but a chemical reaction.
What are the symptoms of anemia? Fatigue is the number one system, but the funny thing about anemia is that it can be a progressive condition. You can suffer from anemia, but your body will attempt to adjust your internal functions around the lack of red blood cells. Your fatigue will increase slightly day to day, but you’re not going to realize it. This is a very simplified view of the symptoms of anemia through the lens of athletics. There are a number of other symptoms.
How does anemia affect athletics? The fatigue factor is what cripples athletes. Sports production that used to be effortless becomes a chore. Training becomes more laborious and coordination begins to suffer as muscles cannot recover quickly enough. Endurance is where the big hit is seen from anemia. Anemia sufferers just wipe their energy out quickly since the body is literally starving for oxygen.
How do you recover from anemia? It depends on the cause of anemia and that can range from not enough iron in your diet to cancer. In Ronny’s case they ruled out cancer, but no official reason was given. If it is as simple as iron deficiency you can take iron supplements.
Ronny is close to bouncing back from the disabled list, so it is great news it wasn’t a cancer such as leukemia.