DEAR DR. GOTT: My son had unexplained mouth sores for six months. They broke out every three weeks. He saw a dentist and periodontist, who were both unable to help. He was then referred to a dental school. Once there, the dentists immediately knew what the problem was. He was diagnosed with idiopathic cyclic neutropenia (low white blood cell levels). He underwent weekly blood tests for a few months to confirm the diagnosis, but it was reassuring to know that the sores were not caused by lack of dental hygiene, as we thought.
These types of sores are usually seen only in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, but some people, like my son, don't seem to have a reason for the neutropenia. He was also lucky that his neutropenia resolved on its own, but I have since found out there are some treatments available.
DEAR READER: Neutropenia is a decrease in the number of circulating neutrophils, a type of infection-fighting white blood cell.
In idiopathic cyclic neutropenia, the number of neutrophils decreases every 21 days, often followed by infection and then count recovery. It is usually seen in infants and children.
Treatment is available and aimed primarily at treating the underlying cause, if one is found. Many cases, such as your son's, resolve without therapy.
People with this condition should be under the care of a hematologist (blood specialist), who can monitor blood-cell levels and provide treatment if necessary.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Blood — Donations and Disorders". Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure mention the title.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a healthy, active 70-year-old female. I take vitamins and 120 milligrams of calcium with vitamin D. I would like to know if I should be taking Fosamax plus D also. I weigh 127 pounds and am 5 feet 2 inches. I don't want to take anything I don't need.
DEAR READER: Fosamax plus D is an osteoporosis medication that also contains vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption into the bones. Unless you have had testing that shows osteoporosis, you do not need this medication.
I would also like to add that I was unaware that calcium came in 120 milligram tablets. Perhaps you miswrote, but if not, you should take 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 600 IU of vitamin D daily to prevent osteoporosis.
Speak to your primary care physician or gynecologist if you have further questions regarding osteoporosis and treatment.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Osteoporosis." Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.