While addictive disorders involving substances are well researched, the field of behavioral addictions, including exercise addiction, is in its infancy. Although exercise addiction is not yet recognized as a psychiatric disorder, evidence for the burden it imposes has gained attention in the last decade. Characterised by a rigid exercise schedule, the prioritization of exercise over one’s own health, family and professional life, and mental wellbeing, and extreme distress when exercise is halted, the phenomenon shares many feature with substance use disorders.
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Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) is recommended in pre-participation evaluation of athletes to measure their cardiorespiratory fitness and maximal exercise tolerance. It is used for the diagnosis of probable cardiovascular and pulmonary disease and for the investigation of possible risks in sports. In case of non-specific symptoms during exercise, which are frequent in athletes, CPET is useful in the evaluation of physiological responses of body organ systems to exercise. This case-based review demonstrate the potential of CPET in the assessment of fatigue and loss of performance in a competitive professional athlete.
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