Blood Doping in Athletics

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Blood Doping

Blood dopingis the practice of boosting the number ofred blood cellsin the bloodstream in order to enhance athletic performance. Because such blood cells carryoxygenfrom thelungsto themuscles, a higher concentration in the blood can improve an athletesaerobic capacity(VO2max) andendurance.

Types of Blood Doping

The three widely used types of blood doping are:blood transfusionsinjections of erythropoietin (EPO)injections of synthetic oxygen carriers

Blood transfusions.In normal medical practice, patients may undergo blood transfusions to replace blood lost due to injury . Transfusions also are given to patients who suffer from low red blood cell counts caused byanemia,kidneyfailure, and other conditions or treatments.Illicit blood transfusions are used by athletes to boost performance. There are two types.

Autologous transfusionThis involves a transfusion of the athlete's own blood, which is drawn and then stored for future use.

Homologous transfusion.In this type of transfusion, athletes use the blood of someone else with the same blood type.Donated blood

EPO injections.. EPO is a hormone produced by the kidney. It regulates the bodys production of red blood cells.In medical practice, EPO injections are given to stimulate the production of red blood cells. For example, a synthetic EPO can be used to treat patients with anemia related to chronic or end-stage kidney disease.Athletes using EPO do so to encourage their bodies to produce higher than normal amounts of red blood cells to enhance performance

Synthetic oxygen carriers. These are chemicals that have the ability to carry oxygen. Two examples are: HBOCs (hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers)PFCs (per fluorocarbons)Synthetic oxygen carriers have a legitimate medical use as emergency therapy. It is used when a patient needs a blood transfusion but:human blood is not availablethere is a high risk of blood infectionthere isn't enough time to find the proper match of blood type

Side-Effects of Blood Doping

Increased blood viscosity (thickness) , Heart attack Stroke, InfectionsRisk hepatitis C, B and HIV) Fever, hypertension,vasoconstriction,impaired oxygen delivery totissues, kidney damageChest painfeverheadacheincreased blood pressureshortness of breathswelling of the face, fingers. weight gain

Effects on Performance

Blood doping is most commonly used by endurance athletes, such as distance runners and cyclists. By increasing the number of red blood cells within the blood (and so increasing the haematocrit), higher volumes of the proteinhaemoglobinare present. Haemoglobin binds to and carries Oxygen from the lungs, to the muscles where it can be used foraerobic respiration. Blood doping therefore allows extra Oxygen to be transported to the working muscles, resulting in a higher level of performance, without the use of theanaerobic energy systems.Studies have shown that blood doping can improve the performance of endurance athletes

Medical Uses of Blood Doping

Artificial Oxygen carriers are the only form of blood doping which have a medical use. They were developed for use in emergencies when there is no time for determining and cross-matching a patients blood-type for transfusion, when there is a high risk of infection, or simply when no blood is available


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