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Effect of treatment on physiological responses to exercise in East African industrial workers with iron deficiency anaemia
  1. C. T. M. Davies,
  2. J. P. M. Van Haaren
  1. MRC Environmental Physiology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1
  2. The Group Occupational Health Service, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Abstract

    Davies, C. T. M., and van Haaren, J. P. M. (1973).British Journal of Industrial Medicine,30, 335-340. Effect of treatment on physiological responses to exercise in East African industrial workers with iron deficiency anaemia. The physiological responses to exercise on an upright bicycle ergometer have been investigated in groups of anaemic (mean Hb = 7·8 g/100 ml) and control (mean Hb = 13·7 g/100 ml) East African industrial workers before and after treatment with oral iron (Fe 200 mg) tablets and on a third group of anaemic subjects (mean = 7·4 g/100 ml) who received no treatment.

    Before treatment anaemic subjects exercised with an increased cardiac frequency at a fixed oxygen intake (V̇o2) of 1·5 1/min and a marked reduction in predicted maximum aerobic power output when compared to normal controls. The effect of therapy was to reverse these changes so that no significant differences existed between the two treatment groups but both were significantly different from their anaemic controls. The pulmonary minute ventilation at a V̇o2 of 1·5 1/min and the V̇o2 at a work load of 8 820 Nm/min (900 kpm/min) were similar in all three groups of subjects and remained constant throughout the experimental investigation. The findings carry important implications for those engaged in industrial medicine in developing countries and show clearly that the debilitating effects of iron deficiency anaemia can be rapidly eliminated by simple and inexpensive therapy in factory workers without seriously disturbing their normal work routine.

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