“Running and Iron” (March & April 2021)
I’m a doctor with a focus in injury rehab and sports medicine, as well as a lifelong avid runner (including coaching, racing, and race-directing) in Cape Breton. I felt it necessary to give a different perspective on Rachel Hannah’s “Running and Iron” article from your March & April issue. In this article, she states, “All athletes should get routine bloodwork done, preferably before they start training.”
Her advice is directly counter to all evidence and recommendations. A recent review article about the utility of “routine” ordering of blood counts states: “Bottom line: neither CBC [complete blood count] nor its components should be ordered for screening asymptomatic, non-pregnant adults” ( Allan and Young, “Complete Blood Count for Screening,” Canadian Family Physician, Vol. 63: October 2017).
In a country such as ours, where our health-care system is already stressed, it behooves an information source such as Canadian Running not to suggest or promote tests that are proven to be unnecessary, and which take up precious health professional time as well as financial resources. See your health professional if you have symptoms, but don’t ask for routine bloodwork.
Chris Milburn, M.Sc., M.D., C.C.F.P. Sydney, N.S.