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Author Topic: Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining  (Read 636 times)

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Offline riley876

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Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining
« on: September 11, 2016, 05:10:41 PM »
So, yeah I've managed to grind myself into the dust.  Some combination of 14hr/week on skates + a cold + a bacterial sinus infection.  Plus what I think now is an iron deficiency.

I'm pretty much down to only 1/2hr per day light practice or else I crash later on in the day.  I've noticed I'm generally OK if I keep my activity intensity below a fairly low level,  but I exceed that it kills me.   e.g. Climbing a couple of flights of stairs will do it.

I had been thinking that my recent infections had lowered my overtraining threshold so that essentially I'd just been overdoing it.   But now I'm wondering about anemia.   In hindsight, in addition to the lowered limit on activity intensity,  I've been feeling cold lately when I shouldn't be (e.g. when >20C inside).   And also in hindsight my deposits have been quite pale, indicating possibly a low turnover of red blood cells.   I eat red meat, but I'm wondering if it's insufficient for a 14hr/week training schedule.

Going to get tested in a couple of weeks to confirm, but I'm wondering about overtraining vs iron deficiency.  They seem to have exactly the same set of symptoms.  I'm wondering if they're actually exactly the same thing?   Or if overtraining has other physiological  elements too? 

Offline icepixie

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Re: Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2016, 06:57:21 PM »
I can't speak to overtraining, but I had moderate anemia for about six months prior to my hysterectomy last summer, and yes, it can definitely put a dent in your activity threshold.  I would be absolutely exhausted after skating for an hour, and the few times I tried to do 90 minutes I started to find it hard to catch my breath and nearly fainted by the end.  Near-fainting was probably the most recognizable symptom, actually.  I've always tended to get lightheaded when I stand up too quickly, but it got much worse during that time.  There was a lot of sitting down as soon as I got up, having to hold on to a wall because my vision was going black, etc.  The most unique symptom, though, was a whooshing/pounding in my ears.  It was like holding a seashell up to my ear, except it was constant when there was no other noise to distract me.  It went away after my surgery and a subsequent blood transfusion.

I also got incredibly altitude-sick when I foolishly took a vacation to Denver during that period.  It was bad enough when we were just hiking, but then we went skiing at something like 11,000 feet, and...I didn't actually get to ski.  I collapsed, wheezing, at the top of the mountain and had to be brought down via ski patrol sled.  (Gory details here, about 10 paragraphs in.)  I've had a bout of altitude sickness before, so I don't think I can blame it all on the anemia, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been that bad without it.

The last unique symptom was these painful little cracks in the corners of my mouth that appeared to be fungal infections.  I've read this is common in people with anemia, though it can happen to anyone.

Anemia is very common in women, even those whose reproductive systems aren't trying to kill them.  Definitely get tested.  In addition to red meat, green leafy vegetables, some beans, and some grains are high in iron (one list).  If you wind up taking an iron supplement, I found carbonyl iron much easier to take than the more common ferrous sulfate form, as it was much gentler on my digestive system.  I've also read it's more readily absorbed than the ferrous form.

Offline riley876

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Re: Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 10:49:35 PM »
Wow, that's scary.

I have been having headaches and hearing oddities, but I had put that down to the sinus infection.   No mouth cracks or near fainting.   Though I do think if I really over did something it would be possible.

One thing than made me wonder is that overtraining supposedly leads to sleep disturbances.  And I don't have that AT ALL.  9pm, hit the sack and I'm dead to the world until 7am.  Which more infers more getting over sickness rather than overtraining.   Hard to imagine overtraining, even at 14hrs/week, it's still very light work compared to say running or biking.   I'm just doing moves and figures,  hardly even get up a sweat.

I'm leaning to a combination of sickness-recovery, overdoing-it-whilst-sick & mild-iron-deficiency,  adding up to more than the sum of their parts.

Back to the original question, a bit of digging shows I'm not the first to make this connection though:

http://run-down.com/overtraining.pdf

http://www.crazyrunninggirl.com/2015/09/30/overtraining-vs-iron-deficiency/

Offline ChristyRN

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Re: Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 07:34:48 PM »


I also got incredibly altitude-sick when I foolishly took a vacation to Denver during that period.  It was bad enough when we were just hiking, but then we went skiing at something like 11,000 feet, and...I didn't actually get to ski.  I collapsed, wheezing, at the top of the mountain and had to be brought down via ski patrol sled.  (Gory details here, about 10 paragraphs in.)  I've had a bout of altitude sickness before, so I don't think I can blame it all on the anemia, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been that bad without it.



I can't tolerate altitude either. I was only going to try to learn to love the ex's hobby of skiing, but I was sick as a dog every single time. I just don't go anymore. Even Lake Placid caused symptoms, but not as bad as Lake Tahoe or the Rockies.
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Offline icepixie

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Re: Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 08:27:39 PM »
I can't tolerate altitude either. I was only going to try to learn to love the ex's hobby of skiing, but I was sick as a dog every single time. I just don't go anymore. Even Lake Placid caused symptoms, but not as bad as Lake Tahoe or the Rockies.

*fistbump of altitude-intolerant solidarity*

My tolerance is rather hit-or-miss.  The first time I got sick, I was hiking Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, which is a measly 2,700'.  Two days later, I was walking along all kinds of trails in Sedona, which is over 4,000', and I was perfectly fine.  (I was 19 then, though.  That may have had something to do with it.)  I've wandered around in other areas that high with no issues, but I wasn't doing anything too strenuous, either.

That said, anything over 1,000' above sea level is off my list of places to move. ;)

Offline riley876

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Re: Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 11:20:34 PM »
FINALLY got around to getting a iron (i.e. ferritin) test done.  It's normal, smack dab in the middle of the range.   Everything else good too, except folate is borderline low (which means more beans for me....)

In the meantime, my endurance has returned.  I'm not back up to my 12-14 hours per week though.  I'm too scared to go back to that, so I'm keeping it at about 10 hours which seems to be sustainable, as long as I don't do any extra "off ice" training on top of that.

I think I'd gotten into a feedback loop of infections (sinus and bronchitis) and overtraining-whilst-sick making said infections hard to get rid of.   I've finally kicked everything now (with the help of 2 rounds of antibiotics and early nights), and am healthy again for the first time in about 6 months.  Long may it last.

Offline RoaringSkates

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Re: Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2017, 03:31:04 PM »
I found out about two weeks ago that I'm wicked anemic. I do know why, and now I'm taking iron supplements. The doctor asked me if I was tired, and I said no, not that I recognized. Maybe I've been this way so long that this is normal for me? I don't know, but I did say that if this is me tired, I can't wait to see what happens once I have energy. :lol:

I did go to the doctor a few years ago because of the Angular Cheilitis that was mentioned here - the cracks at the corners of the mouth. But the doctor didn't say anything at all about a possible iron deficiency.  :drama:


Offline riley876

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Re: Iron Deficiency vs Overtraining
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2017, 04:09:18 PM »
That might be zinc deficiency too.  Whatever made you anemic may well have made you zinc deficient too.    Zinc deficiency for me manifests in eczema, mainly on the top of my toes,  but other people get a variety of dermatological issues too.

Or one of the B vitamins,  though those are harder to become deficient of.