Periodic Bursts of Fast Heart Beats during CrossCountry Season

Patient: Dear Ask the Doctor: I’ve recently started cross country in high school. The first couple of weeks of training was fine, but later I would get periodic bursts of really quick heart beats and have a slight (not really big) problem breathing. i.e. i would have to take a big breath to feel ‘satisfied’. This is really unusual because sports like Xcountry should lower your heart rate so I know it is not a problem of me not exercising enough. Do you know what triggers this? Is this a symptom of allergies (I’m allergic to grass and dust) or iron-deficiency?

Doctor: Your symptoms do not seem to be related to your allergy, but it may be due to the iron deficiency in the body. You may t ake a quick blood test in order to determine if you are anemic. In females, the blood loss occurs with menstruation, along with the demands of the body growth and physical exertion, results in additional iron requirements. Good food sources of iron include dried fruits such as raisins, figs and dates (try adding some to trail mix), lean red meats, spinach, asparagus, kale, broccoli, deep green leafy vegetables, dried beans and peas, seafood, poultry, and organ meats such as liver. Whole grain breads and cereals fortified with iron are also good choices.Your symptoms do not seem to be related to your allergy, but it may be due to the iron deficiency in the body. You may take a quick blood test in order to determine if you are anemic. In females, the blood loss occurs with menstruation, along with the demands of the body growth and physical exertion, results in additional iron requirements. Good food sources of iron include dried fruits such as raisins, figs and dates (try adding some to trail mix), lean red meats, spinach, asparagus, kale, broccoli, deep green leafy vegetables, dried beans and peas, seafood, poultry, and organ meats such as liver. Whole grain breads and cereals fortified with iron are also good choices.