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Thread: Tasting blood

  1. #1
    ophix is offline Warming Up
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    Tasting blood

    I don't seem to be experiencing this lately, but I used to get it all the time when I had to run, and was wondering what people here might know about it/have to say.

    I used to be pretty out of shape during my school days. In gym class we ALWAYS had to run laps. Every day. My gym teachers were all self-loving a**holes who wouldn't listen to what a student was saying if their job depended on it.

    They somehow got the idea that because I was out of shape, it was their job to make me perform at the same level as my fit classmates. This didn't involve training and diet, this involved making me run laps with the rest of the class, and making me start over every time I started walking until I was able to complete the same amount of laps non-stop as everyone else in the class (who was about 1/2-1/3 my weight). Picture a 230lb kid in grade 7 having to run non-stop for a full hour in the summer heat.

    Every time I had to do this, my mouth would flood with the taste of blood coming up from my throat. I could taste the metal in pretty much every breath. As I kept going, I started to get lightheaded, dizzy, weak, I'd start to wheeze (this is years before I ever started smoking), and on one occasion had to go to the hospital because I couldn't inhale anymore, started gasping for breath, and collapsed on the track.

    What exactly causes this blood taste? Were my lungs actually starting to bleed because of this? That's really what it felt like, especially when I'd start gasping and it wouldn't feel like I was getting any oxygen out of the air I was breathing.

    I've read other reports of this blood taste, but they all seem to involve running in cold weather.

    Could someone just fill me in with this a bit? If I start to notice this taste again, should I stop running? I've never gotten this taste without being forcefully pressured into running until my lungs failed, so I really don't know if it was me being out of shape, a serious problem that my teachers were ignoring and putting me through for whatever reasons, or if I should be concerned about this/mindful of it when I'm running.


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  3. #2
    Dry
    Dry is offline Second Set
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    As you stated, I get this when I run in the cold. One explaination is that cold air thickens your saliva, so you begin tasting a blood/iron taste. It would be safe to say that similarly if you become dehydrated and lose saliva you would have a similar taste. Try to stay hydrated, if you get this feeling, get some water and salt back into your body. Also quit smoking, I'm sure that increases the badness of everything bad.

  4. #3
    ophix is offline Warming Up
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    I've read multiple explanations. Everything from saliva contents, increased activity of glands in your throat, to full out hemorraging being the cause of this.

    It really did taste like blood, not JUST metal, but like I was sucking raw blood out of a cut.

    I never noticed any red in my spit, and I never coughed anything up though.

    As I said, I haven't been getting this or anything for years, but I haven't been pushing myself nearly as hard as I was being pushed when I'd start getting this.

    I've never gotten this after I started smoking, but that's more related to the fact that I wasn't being forced to do these long runs at the age I started smoking. Point is, even though it probably isn't helping, smoking hasn't damaged my lungs enough (yet) to produce anything other than a pain in the ass.

    Reason I'm curious about this though is that I'm running now, and pushing myself quite hard, yet I don't get this. It was only when I was being pushed to a level where my body started to fail that this would happen.

    The dehydration seems quite likely. We weren't allowed to bring bottles of water with us to gym (school rules, no food or drinks in any class), and we were never given water breaks or anything. Since I had gym after another class, I couldn't even stock up on water before hand (wasn't allowed to be in the halls for any reason without a teachers' note) and it's not like your fluid levels are that high in the class right before lunch.

    And people wonder why the education system's P.E. courses have failed to make kids any healthier. You'd think with an hour long class devoted to exercise and nutritional education every day for 5 days a week as part of our education requirements, we wouldn't be such a flabby country.

  5. #4
    Dry
    Dry is offline Second Set
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    Quote Originally Posted by ophix View Post
    The dehydration seems quite likely. We weren't allowed to bring bottles of water with us to gym (school rules, no food or drinks in any class), and we were never given water breaks or anything. Since I had gym after another class, I couldn't even stock up on water before hand (wasn't allowed to be in the halls for any reason without a teachers' note) and it's not like your fluid levels are that high in the class right before lunch.

    And people wonder why the education system's P.E. courses have failed to make kids any healthier. You'd think with an hour long class devoted to exercise and nutritional education every day for 5 days a week as part of our education requirements, we wouldn't be such a flabby country.
    I don't know about your school, but I NEVER was taught nutrition in any class I had. I believe that gym classes in the states should break down like any other class, with classroom time and with "lab" time. The classroom time would teach units such as nutrition, exercise and rules to sports, while the "lab" time would be taken to partake in these sports. In my school we just showed up, picked up a ball and were told to go at it.

  6. #5
    ophix is offline Warming Up
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    Yup, that's how we do it in school (I'm in Canada), something like 1/4-1/2 of the year (total accumulated time) is devoted to in-class studying for ALL P.E. courses starting pretty much from kindergarden where you learn about natural instinct, and the differences between nature and nurture, right up to grade 6 where they start teaching sex-ed and drug abuse, right through to the end of grade 9 where they FINALLY finish teaching sex-ed and drug abuse.

    Grade 9 had a lot of in-class lessons though, in 9th grade the curriculum for gym also covers: nutrition, healthy lifestyles, drug abuse, sex ed, conflict resolution, peer to peer relationships, and emergency response (ie. How to perform CPR, how to properly handle someone who's unconcious or having a stroke/heart attack, etc). Grade 9 sex-ed is also worked into grade 9 science where they teach the in-depth mechanisms behind our reproduction (ie. formation of the zygote, how the cells reproduce, grow, how an egg and sperm cell eventually multiply into specific organ cells or bone cells, etc. If you're following along, yes, that means it took them from grade 6 to grade 9 to actually tell us what sex was, and then they used half a year of science to explain how it works, as if every kid in the class hadn't already figured it out for themselves long before we started grade 9).

    Then once you get into grade 11 and 12 you can stop taking general sciences and you can pick between general science, physics, chemistry, or biology. The grade 11 biology course is basically 50% nutritional education as over half the text book is explaining the science of food molecules (ie. carbs, proteins, amino acids, and fat, and how they build up the body), and the science behind metabolism and the entire science and cellular process/chemical formula behind cellular respiration.

    So basically if you follow the courses up to grade 9, you'll have a good idea of what food is good to eat. If you chose to study biology exclusively in grade 11, they'll also teach you WHY that food is good, and what it's doing in your body, and how much of it you should eat.

    IMO, a useless way of teaching important knowledge.

    Though I still don't understand why it took them a year to teach us that people had sex, another year to teach us that EVERYBODY has sex, and that no sexual organs are identicle because our bodies are different, and finally a 3rd year to just come out and tell us that to have sex you put your genitals inside someone else's. As if the constant snickering didn't give away that we totally knew what the teacher was talking about when they said "sex" for the first 2 years.

    If you chose to continue your P.E. courses through grade 10-12, you will still get devoted class time to studying. Instead of studying sex ed and nutrition though, these are purely lessons in sports theory.

    In grade 10 they start doing lectures on applying strategy to your plays, they start teaching students the theory behind different sports and how to manipulate the game to set up a play effectively, and how to read and coordinate your team mates on the field. Through grades 11 and 12, class time is almost PURELY focused on studying plays, strategy, scenerios, and studying the ins and outs of the rules. I will admit, our sports training puts a lot of focus on knowing how to play the game properly in order to win instead of just overpowering the other team by training harder than them. After grade 9 P.E. is no longer just a blow-off class in Canada, it does demand that you actually think when you're participating and does expect you to develop certain skills to use effectively in the games you play with the class. So yeah, unlike grade 9 P.E. it is actually possible to fail.
    Last edited by ophix; Aug. 04/08 at 11:31 AM.

  7. #6
    [Focus] is offline Request Title Change from Admin
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    Have you tried not biting people on the neck?

    No but seriously, I wouldn't worry about it. Just push yourself a little less hard, if you're scared.

  8. #7
    spicypumpkin is offline Verge of Overtraining
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    It pretty much sounds like classic asthma to me. Sometimes asthma is allergy induced and sometimes it is heavy exercise induced. Don't think that because you don't get it when you're not exercising that you don't have it. If your airways get tight, you're gasping for breath, or wheezing it's most likely asthma. It is technically an autoimmune response and different things trigger it for different people. Exercise/running is one of your triggers and may be the only one.

    You get the bloody taste in your mouth because your airways, your trachea and bronchial tubes, get inflamed. It is an autoimmune response that is most likely induced by the heavy breathing. Unfortunately, you can't get rid of it entirely. If your airways have closed to where you can't or can barely breathe on multiple occasions then you should get yourself an emergency inhaler just to have on hand.

    I've dealt with mine in several ways. I used to get the bloody taste and the burning throat feeling when I ran, and sometimes still do if I push myself too hard. What I had to do was learn how to pace myself with the breathing, only allowing myself to breathe at certain intervals. If I went all out and started panting fast, the inflammation would occur. One breath every four or 5 paces seems to do the trick. Try to keep a solid breathing pattern without getting extremely out of breath. Also practice taking fewer deep breaths instead of lots of little breaths. If you pace your breathing you should be able to run longer and longer distances before the inflammation occurs. You may have to slow down on the running speed/intensity in order to maintain a steady breathing pattern.

    Swimming can also be a great way to fight the asthma and increase your lung capacity. It forces you to learn how to time your breathing. It has helped me a lot and I think it's a lot more fun than running.

    Some people recommend breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth. It moistens, filters and warms up the air you breathe.

    You also mentioned smoking. Bad idea. If you haven't already quit, then do it now. It may not be the cause of your asthma, since you said you had the symptoms before you ever started, but it sure as heck won't make it any better. It will cut your lung capacity and make the inflammation even more likely. Plus there are all of the other health risks to worry about...

    You could also have some things in your home that are making it worse. If your house is dusty or moldy it can make asthma symptoms worse or more likely to occur. You could invest in an air filter to make the air you breathe at home a little bit cleaner.

    I hope this was helpful.
    Last edited by spicypumpkin; Aug. 04/08 at 04:45 PM.

  9. #8
    NBS 4life is offline Request Title Change from Admin
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    In bouts of maximal exercise mucous membranes become slightly more permeable and therefore you get the taste of blood.

    Case solved.

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