Spherocytosis and Endurance Sport

Good day All

I’ve been diagnosed with hereditary Spherocytosis when I was 5 years old, with my Spleen being removed shortly after the diagnosis. Although I have been doing sport nearly all my life, I have only recently started thinking about the affects Spherocytosis has on a person’s ability to train effectively, and compete at a reasonable level.

Currently I’m doing a VO2max (Tuesday) and a Threshold (Thursday) session during the week, Wednesday is an hour endurance with a couple of sprints in between. Week-ends are reserved for the long easy rides. Is that to much, taking into consideration that the haemoglobin levels might already be compromised, and that due to the spherical shape of the red blood cells, oxygen uptake and transport is limited compared to normal cells?

I would really love to take my performance a notch up and feel that my current approach is not correct.

I am wondering if there are any knowledgeable people on the forum that has experience / knowledge on this subject, and whom can possibly give pointers as to training protocols to be followed, or share their experiences in how they were able to move to the next level.


I was diagnosed in 1979 at age 7, splenectomy at 8. Growing up, I never knew any different. Competed in all kinds of sports at a competitive level. Age 15 started bodybuilding. 6 years and 40 lbs of muscle later, I was an elite athlete.
Many many years later, I’m nearly 50. I look back, and my training partner and best friend had a huge advantage over me, genetically speaking.
I’d often be sore for 7 days after a heavy workout. He’d be completely healed in 3 and ready to work out again. He was always 2 steps ahead. One year, I worked out hard all winter, while he was studying full-time. He came back in spring, and by the end of summer was already surpassing me.
Take my story for what it is though, I realize looking back it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort on my part. Don’t limit yourself based on what others say, listen to your body.
You should be taking folic acid on a daily basis for the rest of your life. Consult with your physician about that. It does help with RBC production.
How are your illnesses when you get them? My sister is lucky and doesn’t often get sick, myself, am in hospital every time I fall ill now, I don’t take any chances. Make sure you’ve had a pneumovax vaccine, a meningococcal and another one I can’t recall.

Hi Aaron

Regarding illnesses, I do tend to get affected more than the “normal” person. As a child I had all the “normal” vaccinations, and once in my adult life a flu vaccine (I have never been so sick all winter as the year I took the Flu Vaccine, and will never take it again). I have been blessed thus far in my life with being spared from being seriously ill. I try and stay away from antibiotic medications, hoping that my body will strengthen its own immune system naturally and become more robust in fighting off the bugs …

My battles have always been more physiological with myself, struggling to make peace with the reality of always being “behind” physically despite the efforts being made just to keep up.

I have never taken Folic Acid and will look into it. I have never been advised to take it, only that I need to keep an eye on the iron levels in my blood.

I’ll just keep pushing myself and hope that I do not cause damage in the process.