Friday, August 29, 2008

In for ankles, out with a blood disease

I hurt my ankles two weeks ago. I didn't tell anyone because at first I thought it was probably no big deal - starting a new exercise regimen usually hurts at least some, some of the time, and it was time for me to take two consecutive days off anyway. Also, there was no distinct accident that happened - I didn't turn an ankle or anything.

After several days had passed and my ankles were getting, if anything, worse, and I'd had to cancel some work, I went to see my doctor. He had me get an x-ray to see if I'd fractured something, and I also had him draw some blood to make sure I continue not to have hepatitis, and to check for hemachromatosis, a blood disorder that family history suggests I might have. That was pretty much an afterthought, but since it has some bearing on hepatitis, I thought I should find out sooner rather than later. It's not confirmed, but I found out today that I probably have it. D'oh!

The most common symptoms of hemachromatosis are joint pain and an enlarged liver. This is interesting to me because I've had both, although my liver's fine at the moment. The liver connection means that, especially with my recent hepatitis scare, I'm back off alcohol, at least until I can follow up on the hemachromatosis thing. I'm also supposed to cut down drastically on red meat. Which is annoying, because I really like red meat. And no organ meats (which is fine - I never liked them that much and they're expensive.) Hopefully Washington State has some good laws protecting health insurance subscribers and dealing with pre-existing conditions. If not, look for me to remove this post in the next two weeks and commit some fraud.

As far as the ankles go, I'm off running until they feel all the way better, and then I should run with a trainer for a while. So for someone with my budget and preferences in sports, that pretty much means that at least until next Spring, when I may want to start training to do some cycle racing again, I'm off running. The mechanism for hemachromatosis causing joint pain is unknown, according to uptodate.com, but the theory they post is that the iron attracts calcium, which crystalizes in the joint. It sounds to me like grit getting into a bearing, which is bad news. The hemachromatosis thing does have the possibility of unifying my joint problems and my liver problem under a common cause, so in a way that's kind of cool, although my ferratin levels are within normal range at the moment, so it seems a little unlikely. I'm just annoyed to keep finding out about wierd health problems.

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