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May 25, 1979

'Abnormal' Laboratory Results in Runners

Author Affiliations

Hampton, Va

JAMA. 1979;241(21):2262. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290470014006

To the Editor.—  Given the popularity of physical fitness activities, physicians need to recognize atypical and presumably abnormal physical and laboratory findings in those who exercise vigorously, particularly joggers who run middle and longer distances (10 km or more).As a 38-year-old psychiatrist who jogs one hour daily (13 km), I learned from firsthand experience how unsettling it is to have a routine annual physical examination yield "abnormal" results.My examining physician remarked that all seemed well except for bradycardia (42 beats per minute) and three laboratory test results: the BUN level was 21.1 mg/dL (normal, 5 to 20); SGOT level, 56 Reitman-Frankel units (normal, 0 to 30); and the level of lactic dehydrogenase (LDH), was 80 IU (normal, 24 to 78). Fortunately, I had not obtained a value for serum creatinine phosphokinase (CPK), which presumably would have been high (239:2685, 1978), reflecting muscle breakdown consequent to vigorous exercise.A