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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Week of July 31, 2000

    Question:   My healthy 14-year-old, baseball playing son, recently began experiencing somewhat severe pain in his elbow when he fully extends his arm. Two visits to a sports medicine doctor ruled out UCL and direct joint problems primarily due to the location of the pain (above the back of the elbow, where the triceps muscle joins the triceps tendon). The current diagnosis is "triceps tendinitis." Extensive Internet searches have failed to turn up anything on "triceps tendinitis." Any suggestions on alternative diagnoses or treatment?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   For gout, what dosage of sodium bicarbonate should be used, how often and how long to lower uric acid? What other recommendations would you make?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   I just finished a year of treatment for Hepatitis C a few months ago. As a result, my toes are a shiny red color and are very numb and painful, so much that I have trouble sleeping. All my blood work is within normal levels except for high MCV and MCH. I am negative for diabetes and my B12 and folic acid is ok. I am so sick of doctors and tests. If I list all the things bothering me the list gets so long I feel like a hypochondriac. Any suggestions would sure be appreciated so I can be prepared for my next visit.    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   Our son has asthma and for two years his daily regimen has been six puffs of cromolyn sodium via Aerochamber, with one puff of Ventolin as needed. We use the nebulizer as needed. This year we've noticed a tic developing (a blinking of the eyes and a stretching of the neck) which gets worse under stress. He is aware and tries to stop it but can't. Are all tics psychologically based or could the long-term use of cromolyn and or Ventolin be causing this? What tests would you recommend and are there other meds that may be safer?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   I am a rigorously athletic 59-year-old male in excellent shape. My recent physical revealed a mildly elevated liver enzyme (the test was RLB AT, GOT, and the number was 60; the normal range indicated on the print out was 5-43). I eat well, take no drugs or supplements (other than protein powder once a day) and have 1 or 2 beers a week; that's it. Any idea of what may have caused this elevation and is the number high enough for concern?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer