Athletes a higher RBC count can dramatically improve

Athletes
that push their bodies to the furthest extent of their performance sometimes
try other methods to allow them to perform better. They
will try anything from using the latest training and recovery techniques,
modifying diets and training at altitude in hopes of finding the ideal
performance.

Many sporting
organizations have banned specific practices among competitive and professional
athletes that involve drugs or blood modification.

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A
legal method of improving athletic ability is carbohydrate loading. This is a strategy used by endurance athletes, such as runners or
athletes that require a long period of intense respiration, to maximize the
storage of glycogen in the muscles, mainly, and liver.
Topping up your glycogen stores before an event by carbo loading can prevent a
decrease in performance due to in sufficient energy, leading to a potential
increase in your energy and endurance. Sometimes this does not work as, if left
for too long, the body will begin to store the glycogen as fat.

 

 

Another method,
which is illegal is blood doping. This is a method of increasing athletic
performance by artificially increasing an athlete’s red blood cell (RBC) count.
Because red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles, having a higher RBC count
can dramatically improve an athlete’s aerobic respiration ability. Athletes
looking for a way to boost their RBC initially turned to blood transfusions,
where an athlete stored and re-infused their own oxygenated RBCs. This has been
banned in professional sports. The cyclist Lance Armstrong was accused of doing
this in the late 90s, before his races

 

There are
many different types of drugs that some athletes take to give themselves an
advantage above others. Some examples are:

A more
modern way of blood doping is by taking a drug called ‘Recombinant
erythropoietin” or RhEPO. This drug artificially boosts the RBC count,
originally for treating anaemic patients. It is a naturally occurring and
essential hormone in the human body. It is produced in the kidneys and prompts
the production of the red blood cells. This hormone can also be injected
directly into the blood stream or skin. Artificial RhEPO also does the same
thing and has been abused in the athletic community, first being recognised in
the 80s. Arterially injecting the drug can be detected by doing urine tests,
however it is not very reliable as RhEPO is already in the blood.

 

Although is sounds
beneficial, RhEPO is dangerous to inject into the bloodstream as it thickens
the blood, increasing the work required by the heart to pump the blood. There
was also an increased risk or large blood clots, strokes and heart attacks. It
is on the banned substances list in professional cycling, and riders are
regularly tested, but, method to avoid detection are improving and it is the
most commonly used banned substance.

 

Some athletes take a
form of steroids, known as anabolic-androgen steroids (or just anabolic
steroids) to increase their muscle mass and strength. These steroids prompt the
production of testosterone which has anabolic effects, promoting muscle growth,
and androgenic effects, which are responsible to deep voices and facial hair.
Using these drugs is just an alternating to injecting regular testosterone, it
is a form of synthetic testosterone. They can also reduce the time taken for
the body to repair the muscles after strenuous exercise. Harder exercise can
also be done for longer.

 

Another widely used
steroid is called ‘Human Growth Hormone’, it is also known as gonadotropin, and
it is also used for its anabolic effects, to improve muscle mass, but it does
not effectively increase strength or endurance. And, drugs that falls into the
category of narcotic analgesics are used as they block the body from detecting
pain, allowing the athlete to ‘power through’. This can be very damaging to the
body as pain is a signal to stop that activity. Continuing could result in
major irreversible damage. 

 

 

Though some
performance enhancing drugs are not illegal giving yourself an advantage is
cheating and generally bad decorum. This I morally wrong considering athletes
are people who other look up to, not people who should promote drug use

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