Canadian Running

“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.

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