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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

Athletes with sickle cell trait have
special considerations before and during their workout. Athletes can unknowingly predispose
themselves to exertional sickling by beginning exercise without proper
hydration, while physically exhausted, overheated, or while fighting off illness. Athletes with any of these risk factors
should be encouraged to sit out or perform a reduced workout. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the
body’s tissues through the circulatory system. The cells are disks shaped and flexible
and can squeeze into small capillaries. During regulated physical exercise, the
red blood cells in an athlete with sickle cell trait can deliver oxygen
normally. Under stress from intense physical
exertion, the red blood cells in an athlete with sickle cell trait can no longer
hold on to oxygen. These blood cells change from their flexible, disk shape
to a rigid, sickle shape. This is called exertional sickling. These abnormal cells can get trapped in
small capillaries, blocking healthy blood cells from bringing oxygen to the body’s
muscles and tissues. This is called a crisis. During a crisis, the athlete can have
muscle cramping, pain, swelling, weakness, inability to catch their breath, and fatigue. If pushed past the point of crisis, a lack of oxygen can break down muscle
tissue causing harmful proteins to flood into
the bloodstream and leading to severe kidney damage. When combined with environmental factors
such as heat stress, dehydration, illness, and altitude, even death can occur. It is important to recognize the signs
and symptoms of exertional sickling in athletes before a crisis occurs. When the athlete is allowed to rest
between exercises, the sickled red cells regain oxygen inside the lungs and
return to their normal shape. High flow oxygen helps the athlete’s red
cells recover faster. With enough oxygen, the athlete feels
better and, in most cases, is ready to return to play.

28 thoughts on “Sickle Cell Trait- Exertional Sickling in Athletes

  1. This helped me understand. I play basketball ball and I have sickle cell and I sometime get pain on the court now I know what to do thank you

  2. I live in the Republic of Turkey. I have the sickle cell anemia patients. gibi.tanrı unbearable torture is a very difficult disease, pain crises, help us

  3. I have the disease. And it hurts like hell! My kids have the trait. And believe me, I make sure they drink plenty of water. I don't give them juice or soda like that. Every purple moon, I'll let them have 1 only. I make sure they're hydrated.

    Thank you for this video. There are a lot of things that I've learned. Plus, there's a lot of ignorant individuals that knows nothing about this disease, or the inheritance of it.

  4. I got the Sickle Cell Trait. I am an athletic guy who works out 3-4 days a week. Most times, i struggle with energy when trying to max my reps. For example, my aim is to do 10 reps but i can only get between 6-8. Mostly by the 7th rep, I am exhausted. It been like this since i have started working out. I don't know if it is the "Crisis" affect occurring or if it is a lack of fitness.  

  5. Both my daughters and I have sickle cell trait, when I take them to the bounce house or chuck e cheese or the park, I make sure they drink water and take 5 to sit down and drink, I have the trait as well

  6. My middle school and high school cross country and track teachers didn't know what sickle cell was, and they are the best in the state….


  7. I am a Kinesiologist and trainer with the trait. I work out 15-20 times a week, teaching classes and personal training, on top of my own fitness regimen. I've done this for 20 years. I'm 41. it's doable if you do it right.

  8. I have it to but I last longer in only get the pain the day after. which is my resting day damn u father this is all ur fault now I have to worry about slowing my self in the soccer games

  9. Guys i have this mother fucking disease,,
    And it only occurs when i reach my limit at running then the pain start to occur.the point is that is it gonna help me reduce the probabilities of pain if i can do running without a limited point then day by day increase my limit? So the pain doesn't happen fast

  10. i have sct and i am a boxer i get tired quickly for some reason and wondering if my fitness can get any better because of sct

  11. Brother I am from India, i have also sickle cell trait but not getting any problem. During sport I become more thirsty and feel fatigue as compare to other.

  12. I almost died from exertion with my sc disease, this is very real!!! I've been struggling with this disease it seems like forever!! PLEASE take care of yourselves and GOD BLESS!!!!

  13. I have it too and working out has helped me a lot. The most important thing for me to stay full of energy is sleeping enough quality hours. Drinking & Eating healthy and building muscle also helps to make your body stronger. The pain will stay the same tho, but if your body is stronger you wont get a crisis as fast as if you don't. I use heavy weights and don't do high intensity workouts that often. Start out slow and keep listening to your Body. But when u feel sick u shouldn't overdo things. It's important to remember the things that work out for your body. Some yoga exercises also give me a crisis because of the random blood flow/ circulation changes.

  14. I have the trait and can feel severe bone pain in my shins and arm at least 2 time's in a year. It's aggravating severe pain smh.

  15. My kids are athletes and they have the trait just as I do. I was told that there are different types of the trait. If this is correct, how would I be able to find out what types we have?

  16. I have Sickle Cell trait.  Yes, even though I look white, I am in fact half Puerto Rican, born and raised. It is not widely known that 36% of all Caribbean people have some form of Sickle Cell, even if they don't have African ancestry. I found out I had the trait the hard way. In my youth I was an avid work out freak. My spleen exploded inside of me and it almost killed me. I informed all of my family and it turns out they ALL had it too. And like me, they had no idea Puerto Ricans or other Caribbean people could have it. In fact, 40 years ago my Emergency Room Doctors were totally baffled that a non-African could even have Sickle Cell anemia.
      I think this video piece doesn't go far enough to warn people. Not to mention that it implied that Sickling of the cells within people who have the "trait" is ONLY brought on by "exertion". I think the video gives the impression that people with the trait are almost like "carriers" but are not effected by the disease unless it is triggered by exertion.   
    I'm no Angiologist (blood expert), but I've lived with disease almost 64 years now, and I'm not so sure that even the so called "experts" fully understand Sickle Cell in all it's forms. I think we who have the trait, just like those who have the full disease, have red blood cells that are deficient (sickled or flattened) cells from the time they are 
    manufactured, which is regularly. In other words, I think people with the trait have a percentage of the disease just like those with the full blown disease. No pun intended, I don't think it is as "black and white" from suffering the effects as they Medical profession and as we see here in the video presumes. I think people may have the trait in varying degrees leading all the way up the full blown disease. Am I wrong? Or does anyone else suspect this?

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