Practical guidelines on minimising infection risk in athletes
Blood analysis can serve a useful purpose for athletes as it can sometimes give answers as to why performance has declined for no other obvious reason. It can also serve as a health check and give an indication of an individual's likely susceptibility to infection. A blood test can be used to assess the status of many organ systems, including the heart, liver, kidneys and endocrine glands. However, perhaps the most common tests are those designed to assess the numbers of red and white blood cells and the body's iron status. So me normal values for blood parameters in adult men and women are shown in Table 10.1 and this section explains what these values mean and what the consequences of values outside the normal range can mean. Since red blood cell count and haemoglobin concentration are not direcdy linked to immune function, these parameters will not be described here.