Too many platelets of­ten can safely go un­treated

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: My platelet counts have been high. I take hy­drox­yurea for this. My di­ag­no­sis is es­sen­tial throm­bo­cy­to­sis. Is there a dan­ger of clot­ting?

Why have they told me not to hold the hy­drox­yurea cap­sules in my hand, but to take one di­rectly into my mouth from the bot­tle? I was told to wash my hands if I ac­ci­den­tally touched one. — J.P.

AN­SWER: Platelets also are called throm­bo­cytes. Es­sen­tial throm­bo­cy­to­sis is an over­pro­duc­tion of th­ese clot­ting cells. No one can say with cer­tainty why the bone mar­row starts pro­duc­ing them in pro­fu­sion. It’s log­i­cal to think that the big­gest dan­ger from over­pro­duc­tion would be clot­ting. Strangely, the high count is more of­ten as­so­ci­ated with bleed­ing. The mass-pro­duced platelets are poorly as­sem­bled.

If peo­ple with high platelet counts have no symp­toms and no hint of heart dis­ease, of­ten treat- ment is de­ferred. If platelet re­duc­tion is deemed nec­es­sary for health, hy­drox­yurea is one drug of­ten em­ployed. Your cur­rent platelet counts are not in danger­ous ter­ri­tory.

In a deleted part of your let­ter, you ask about your he­mo­glo­bin and red blood cell counts. They are a bit low, in­di­cat­ing ane­mia. They’re not so low that you need quick at­ten­tion to this mat­ter. You’re only bor­der­line ane­mic. Your per­sonal physi­cian has to ex­plain th­ese changes. I can’t. There are too many pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Hy­drox­yurea can be ab­sorbed through the skin and can cre­ate skin prob­lems. The man­u­fac­turer says to han­dle only if you wear gloves, or to take it di­rectly from the bot­tle with a glass of wa­ter.

About your pam­phlet or­der: Please write me again, ex­plain­ing the sit­u­a­tion. Put your ad­dress in the let­ter. I don’t get the en­velopes sent to me.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: You never seem to ad­dress the kind of cal­cium I take: cal­cium phos­phate. You men­tion only cal­cium car­bon­ate or cal­cium cit­rate.

The brand name of my cal­cium is Pos­ture-D.

Must it be taken with food? — M.H.

AN­SWER: Cal­cium car­bon­ate and cal­cium cit­rate are the two most widely used cal­cium sup­ple­ments. Cal­cium cit­rate can be taken at any time of the day. Cal­cium car­bon­ate is bet­ter ab­sorbed if it is taken dur­ing or af­ter a meal. The high stom­ach acid con­cen­tra­tion at that time ren­ders it more eas­ily taken into the blood. Other cal­cium prepara- tions, like cal­cium phos­phate, are di­gested more read­ily at or af­ter meals too.

Peo­ple should re­al­ize that there are food sources of cal­cium. Dairy prod­ucts are the rich­est source. An eight-ounce glass of low-fat milk has 300 mg; one ounce of cheese, be­tween 200 and 300 mg; one cup of yo­gurt, 450 mg. A cup of spinach has 245 mg; a cup of col­lard greens, 266 mg; a cup of navy beans, 126 mg.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: We’re told to get five serv­ings of fruits and veg­eta­bles daily. Just what is a serv­ing? — L.L.

AN­SWER: For fruits, a serv­ing is the equiv­a­lent of a medium-size ap­ple, ba­nana or or­ange. A half a cup of chopped canned fruit or three-fourths of a cup of fruit juice also con­sti­tutes a serv­ing.

For veg­eta­bles, one cup of leafy greens is a serv­ing, as is half a cup of cooked veg­eta­bles or three­fourths of a cup of veg­etable juice.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: Some months ago, you re­ported on a pain in the up­per thigh in the area of a man’s pants pocket. Will you please run that item again? — M.L.

AN­SWER: One cause of pain in that area is mer­al­gia pares­thet­ica. It comes from pres­sure on a nerve in the up­per thigh. The re­sult is pain.

Tight jeans, obe­sity, a too-tight belt or an in­ner scar can press on the nerve. Weight loss, belt loos­en­ing or sur­gi­cal re­moval of what­ever might be press­ing on the nerve solves the prob­lem.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.