There is an illness that has the identical symptoms to overtraining, but can have much more severe consequences, including sudden death. In Polish it is called ‘choroba odogniskowa’, in English, chronic low-grade infection that may mature into septicaemia and then become septic shock. It starts as a local bacterial infection and then spreads. Its most often occurring form has the subsequent symptoms: disproportionate sweating, headaches, general volatility or apathy, sleepiness or insomnia, muscle and joint pains – local or migratory, mood or character changes, heart palpitations, inflammations of joints and tendons, cramps, dyspnoea, and paraesthesia. The intensity of these symptoms fluctuates from slight to oppressive, they may occur unceasingly or sporadically with cutbacks, and they may be generated by the same factors as overtraining. Any local infection may become the source of this illness – infected tonsils, sinuses, teeth, bronchi, inner ear, appendix, gallbladder, uterus or urinary tract – but the most often unkempt sources are teeth because in a predictable medical check-up every filled off capped tooth is expected to be healthy if it does not hurt and is not perceptibly decayed. Because the symptoms of this illness are so akin to overtraining and activated by the same factors, it is often treated as overtraining and to make things worse, it may respond to such treatment by an impermanent improvement. The 1st symptom of the illness is lowered fitness and performance. Therefore, when an individual’s fitness and performance decay, an organic disease should be implicit and only when illness is ruled out can the problem be attributed to overtraining and subsequently treated.
- Kurz, Thomas. Science of sports training: how to plan and control training for peak performance. Island Pond, VT, U.S.A.: Stadion, 1991.
- Professional guide to diseases. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.