Miriam diagnosed to have a chronic bone marrow disorder

SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago was diagnosed last Friday (January 18) with a chronic bone marrow disorder resulting in low blood cell count, known in layman’s term as “slow bone marrow,” it was learned Saturday.

According to a media advisory released by her office, Santiago ran a series of blood tests at the Philippine Heart Center laboratory, where results showed that she has abnormally low red blood cells and low hemoglobin.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that enables them to carry oxygen from the lungs and deliver it to all parts of the body. When hemoglobin is low, the blood cannot carry an adequate supply of oxygen, causing fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and other symptoms.

Dr. Esperanza Cabral, a prominent cardiologist, has prescribed injections of a drug called Epoetin, commercial name Eprex. The hormone erythrotoietin stimulates the stem cells within the bone marrow to form blood cells. In extreme cases, bone marrow transplantation from the patient’s family might be necessary.

Santiago habitually defies her bone marrow disorder. A few years ago, she disobeyed doctors’ orders and took a long flight to Europe to deliver a lecture at an international conference.

But when she reached Turkey, and reported for the lecture, she suddenly fell down from the stage on her way to the podium, thus breaking her arm and her eyeglasses. She insisted on delivering her lecture, and her efforts received an ovation from the international crowd. The accident was shown on Philippine TV.

Other results of her Friday blood tests are also dismal. Santiago has high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and very high LDL (known as “bad” cholesterol), possibly aggravated by a recent bout with hypothyroidism.

A high cholesterol count increases the risk of atherosclerosis, and thus increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Other findings showed Santiago suffers from high calcium, high uric acid, and high blood urea.

“Sen. Santiago is a ticking time bomb. Her lifestyle is ultra stressful, because she is too passionate and intense about her work. She is endangering herself,” said a doctor who requested anonymity.

Santiago herself said: “I am quarantined from certain toxic people, and I am sequestered from political news. I may as well be shot. But then again, I will have more time for my four granddaughters, every single one of whom is precocious, beautiful, brilliant, and a potential Olympic champion.”

Santiago has authorized both the Heart Center and her staff to release copies of her blood test results to media.

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