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Ask Dr. gott 4/24
Vitamin C eases purpura
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have had severe purpura on my arms for the last two years. My doctor told me there is no remedy, and I will have to live with it. I'm tired of constantly wearing long sleeves. What can I do to get rid of these spots? Taking vitamin C seems to help some.
    DEAR READER: Purpura is spontaneous hemorrhage in tissues. Small, pinpoint areas are called petechiae, and larger areas are called ecchymoses (bruises).
    For some reason, the veins in your arms are rupturing spontaneously. This can have many causes, including clotting disorders, high blood pressure and the aging process. Purpura caused by the aging process often presents as dark purple or brown spots on the forearms and back of the hands. This is most likely your problem, and your physician is correct that there is no cure. However, various creams, lotions and cosmetic procedures can help the spots to fade.
    Before resorting to cosmetic options, make sure there's no treatable cause, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure. You also need to make sure you do not have a new clotting problem, which is often caused by taking too high a dose of anticoagulant medication (Coumadin, aspirin, etc.).
    Make an appointment with a hematologist (blood specialist). It is important that when you see the specialist, you have a list of your current and recently stopped medications, a history of how long this has been happening, whether there is a family history of clotting disorders and a list of what you have used to try to get rid of the purpura, such as the vitamin C. (Vitamin C deficiency can also cause spontaneous bruising, which may be why supplements have helped.)
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Blood — Donations and Disorders."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I want to know if you think a mouthwash made of one part water and one part hydrogen peroxide is good. I read about it somewhere and thought it was worth a try because it would be less costly than other rinses. Since trying it, I can't see a problem with it. I make sure to rinse with plain water afterward so I don't have a bad aftertaste. Do you know if this is safe to use? Will it have adverse long-term effects?
    DEAR READER: Hydrogen peroxide is perfectly safe to use. The recipe and directions for use as a mouthwash are included on the bottle of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. It recommends mixing equal amounts of water and peroxide to use as a mouth cleanser. But don't swallow the mixture. The smal amount swallowed during normal mouth cleansing will not cause harm. You can continue to use your homemade mouthwash safely.
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