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Body fluid homeostasis and cardiovascular adjustments during submaximal exercise: influence of chewing coca leaves.

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Instituto Boliviano de Biologia de Altura, La Paz, Bolivia.


The present study was undertaken to determine the haematological and cardiovascular status, at rest and during prolonged (1h) submaximal exercise (approximately 70% of peak oxygen uptake) in a group (n = 12) of chronic coca users after chewing approximately 50 g of coca leaves. The results were compared to those obtained in a group (n = 12) of nonchewers. At rest, coca chewing was accompanied by a significant increase in heart rate [from 60 (SEM 4) TO 76 (SEM 3) beats.min-1], in haematocrit [from 53.2 (SEM 1.2) to 55.6 (SEM 1.1)%] in haemoglobin concentration, and plasma noradrenaline concentration [from 2.8 (SEM 0.4) to 5.0 (SEM 0.5) mumol.l-1]. It was calculated that coca chewing for 1 h resulted in a significant decrease in blood [-4.3 (SEM 2.2)%] and plasma [-8.7 (SEM 1.2)%] volume. During submaximal exercise, coca chewers displayed a significantly higher heart rate and mean arterial blood pressure. The exercise-induced haemoconcentration was blunted in coca chewers compared to nonchewers. It was concluded that the coca-induced fluid shift observed at rest in these coca chewers was not cumulative with that of exercise, and that the hypovolaemia induced by coca chewing at rest compromised circulatory adjustments during exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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