By Raïssa Robles
If Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has a life-threatening illness, then by all means let GMA fly abroad to get the best medical help.
With that in mind, I thought I could help GMA out. So I asked a noted Filipino endocrinologist this question:
From what you have been hearing and what you have been seeing about Arroyo’s condition, in your medical opinion, do you think she’s in danger of dying from hypoparathyroidism and therefore needs to travel abroad at once?
My source – who is known in the field of endocrinology and whom I will call “Mar” which is short for my source’ first name – replied:
No. she’s not. I treat patients with that condition. It’s not life threatening.
Mar then asked me,
Did you listen to Anthony Taberna this morning?
Mar was referring to Taberna’s one-on-one interview on Channel 2 and ANC with Arroyo’s spokeswoman Elena Bautista-Horn who had insisted that Arroyo needed a “metabolic bone biopsy” which is not available in the Philippines. Horn even said:
I challenge Secretary Ona to give us names of experts who can do metabolic bone biopsy in the Philippines. Iba po yung metabolic bone biopsy sa bone biopsy.
Blunt about expressing opinions when it comes to this particular subject, Mar said of Bautista:
She’s funny. Why does Arroyo have to get a biopsy? I don’t know why she has to get a biopsy. She (Bautista) said GMA has to travel abroad and she needs that procedure. Is that really necessary?
Mar was busy with a patient when I called. So Mar could not tell me all about hypoparathyroidism. But Mar suggested I read up on it on the Internet before phoning back at a later agreed time.
And so I decided, among the dozens of websites to choose from, to read the website of the Mayo Clinic which has an extensive discussion of hypoparathyroidism. Let’s all learn together about this rare, rare illness that has suddenly struck our beloved former President.
Before I share with you what I’ve read, I just want to run by you a thought that just occurred to me. If the Arroyo camp knows she has hypoparathyroidsim, then why does she need a metabolic bone biopsy test?
Doctors order a biopsy to help in the diagnosis of an illness in order to determine the course of treatment, right? But in this case, GMA has already been diagnosed with hypoparathyroidism. So what is the biopsy intended to accomplish?
Will the doctor who ordered the metabolic bone biopsy please speak out instead of Mrs Horn?
Meanwhile, to help us understand this rare disease, here are extracts on hypoparathyroidism from the Mayo Clinic website:
First, it explained that the each of us has four parathyroid glands, each one no bigger than a grain of rice.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition in which your body secretes abnormally low levels of parathyroid hormone (parathormone). This hormone plays a key role in regulating and maintaining a balance of your body’s levels of two minerals — calcium and phosphorus.
The low production of parathyroid hormone in hypoparathyroidism leads to abnormally low ionized calcium levels in your blood and bones and to an increased amount of phosphorus.
Treatment for hypoparathyroidism consists of taking supplements to normalize your levels of calcium and phosphorus. Because hypoparathyroidism is a chronic condition, treatment is generally lifelong.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Signs and symptoms of hypoparathyroidism can include:
- Tingling or burning (paresthesias) in your fingertips, toes and lips
- Muscle aches or cramps affecting your legs, feet, abdomen or face
- Twitching or spasms of your muscles, particularly around your mouth, but also in your hands, arms and throat
- Fatigue or weakness
- Painful menstruation
- Patchy hair loss, such as thinning of your eyebrows
- Dry, coarse skin
- Brittle nails
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Depression, mood swings
- Memory problems
When to see a doctor
If you have any of the signs and symptoms associated with hypoparathyroidism, make an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation. Once you’ve been diagnosed, contact your doctor immediately if you have a seizure or have difficulty breathing, both of which can be complications of hypoparathyroidism.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Hypoparathyroidism occurs when your parathyroid glands don’t secrete enough parathyroid hormone. You have four parathyroid glands — each normally about the size of a grain of rice — situated in your neck, adjacent to your thyroid gland.
The low production of parathyroid hormone leads to abnormally reduced calcium levels (hypocalcemia) in your blood and bones and to increased levels of phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia).
Factors that can cause hypoparathyroidism include:
- Acquired hypoparathyroidism. This most common cause of hypoparathyroidism develops after accidental damage to or removal of the parathyroid glands during surgery. This surgery may be a treatment for diseases of the nearby thyroid gland, or for throat cancer or neck cancer. Today, surgeons are aware of and more careful to avoid injuring the parathyroid glands during surgery.
- Hereditary hypoparathyroidism. In this form, either the parathyroid glands aren’t present at birth, or they don’t work properly. Some types of hereditary hypoparathyroidism are associated with deficiencies of other hormone-producing glands.
- Autoimmune disease. In this condition, your immune system creates antibodies against the parathyroid tissues, trying to reject them as if they were foreign bodies. In the process, the parathyroid glands stop manufacturing their hormone.
- Extensive cancer radiation treatment of your face or neck, which can result in destruction of your parathyroid glands, or occasionally because of radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism.
- Low levels of magnesium in your blood, which can affect the function of your parathyroid glands. Normal magnesium levels are required for optimum secretion of parathyroid hormone.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Factors that may increase your risk of developing hypoparathyroidism include:
- Recent neck surgery, particularly if the thyroid was involved
- A family history of hypoparathyroidism
- Having certain autoimmune or endocrine conditions, such as Addison’s disease — a condition characterized by a deficit in hormone production by the adrenal glands
Tests and diagnosis
By Mayo Clinic staff
A doctor who suspects hypoparathyroidism begins the diagnostic process by taking a medical history and asking about your symptoms, such as muscle cramps or tingling of the extremities. He or she will also want to know whether you’ve had any recent surgeries, particularly operations involving the thyroid or neck.
Next, your doctor will conduct a physical examination, looking for signs that suggest hypoparathyroidism, such as facial muscle twitching.
You’ll also have blood tests, and the following findings may indicate hypoparathyroidism:
- A low blood-calcium level
- A low parathyroid hormone level
- A high blood-phosphorus level
- A low blood-magnesium level
Your doctor also may order these additional tests:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG). This test involves taking electrical readings of your heart’s activity. It can detect arrhythmias associated with hypocalcemia and, in turn, hypoparathyroidism.
- Urine test. Evaluation of a sample of your urine can show whether your body is excreting too much calcium.
- X-rays and bone density tests. These can determine whether abnormal calcium levels have affected the strength of your bones.
In diagnosing children, doctors check to see whether tooth development is normal and whether they have met developmental milestones.
Hmmm. Do you see ANY metabolic bone biopsy recommended here?
But let’s go on educating ourselves on this rare illness:
Treatments and drugs
By Mayo Clinic staff
In considering treatment for hypoparathyroidism, doctors take into account your symptoms, including their severity, and your overall health. The goal of treatment is to normalize the levels of calcium and phosphorus in your body. A treatment regimen typically includes:
- Oral calcium carbonate tablets.
- Vitamin D, which can help your body absorb calcium and eliminate phosphorus. The forms of vitamin D called ergocalciferol, dihydrotachysterol or calcitriol are recommended most often because they have a longer duration of action or are more potent than are other forms of this vitamin. Often, the required doses of vitamin D are much higher than are those used for a typical daily vitamin supplement.
- At high doses, calcium supplements can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as constipation, in some people. For that reason, take these pills only with the guidance of your doctor.
- Some studies have shown promising effects of treatment with recombinant human parathyroid hormone (PTH), currently used to treat the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. More study is needed.
Your doctor may recommend that you consult a dietitian, who is likely to advise a diet that is:
- Rich in calcium. This includes dairy products, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kale, and fortified orange juice and breakfast cereals.
- Low in phosphorus-rich items. This means avoiding carbonated soft drinks, which contain phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid. Eggs and meats also tend to be high in phosphorus.
In some cases, when you need immediate relief of symptoms, your doctor may recommend hospitalization to administer calcium by intravenous (IV) infusion. These IV infusions may be important if you’re having severe spasms associated with tetany. After hospital discharge, you can continue to take calcium and vitamin D as an oral supplement.
Your doctor will regularly check your blood to monitor levels of calcium and phosphorus. Initially, these tests will be weekly to monthly. Eventually, you’ll need blood tests just twice a year.
Because hypoparathyroidism is a long-lasting (chronic) disorder, treatment strategies are generally recommended for the rest of your life, along with regular blood tests to determine whether calcium in particular is at normal levels. Your doctor will adjust your dose of supplemental calcium if your blood-calcium levels rise or fall.
If calcium in your blood remains low, despite treatment, your doctor may add a prescription diuretic medication — specifically, a thiazide diuretic such as hydrochlorothiazide or metolazone. While some other types of diuretics (loop diuretics) decrease calcium levels in your bloodstream, the thiazides can increase blood-calcium levels.
Most people who are treated for hypoparathyroidism can keep their symptoms under control if they continue to receive treatment long term. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications of hypoparathyroidism, some of which are permanent.
Did this say to avoid phosphorous-rich food? Oh, oh, there goes one of GMA’s favorite drinks – wine – which has phosphorous.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Hypoparathyroidism may result in numerous complications.
The following complications are due to low calcium levels, and most are likely to improve with adequate treatment:
- Tetany. These cramp-like spasms of your hands and fingers may be prolonged and painful. Tetany also may include muscle discomfort and twitches or spasms of the muscles of your face, throat or arms. When these spasms occur in your throat, they can interfere with breathing, creating a possible emergency.
- Paresthesias. These are characterized by sensory symptoms of odd, tingling sensations or pins and needles feelings in your lips, tongue, fingers and feet.
- Loss of consciousness with convulsions (grand mal seizures).
- Malformation of the teeth, affecting their shape and size.
- Impaired kidney function.
- Heart arrhythmias and fainting, even heart failure.
Other complications associated with hypoparathyroidism will not improve with calcium and vitamin D treatment:
- Stunted growth (short stature)
- Slow mental development (or mental retardation) in children
- Calcium deposits in the brain
Here’s the link to the Mayo Clinic website.
Cable news network CNN gave the same link in its write-up on hyperparthyrodism earlier this year:
So if hypoparathyroidism is not a life-threatening illness, why the undue haste to go abroad?
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has noted that three separate requests for GMA’s travel showed various destinations, rendering her confused as to GMA’s real reason and destination.
Here are the three separate requests:
- October 16 request to travel to – the United States, Germany and Switzerland.
- Second travel request to – US, Germany, Singapore, Spain and Italy.
- October 21 request to DOJ to travel to – Singapore, Germany and Austria.
Notice that in all three travel requests, the travel to Germany is a constant.
Do you recall that in 2007, there was this sudden trip by Arroyo’s husband Jose Miguel a.k.a. Mike to Germany? With reporters in tow, Mr Arroyo went to a certain bank to prove to one and all that the family had no money there?
Since that incident occurred long before Philippine newspapers started really going online, I could only find tangential references to that event.
You can find the references by clicking here and here.
Even the German bank officer came out and told the Filipino reporters in tow that the Arroyo couple did not keep any money there.
Hmm. Don’t the Arroyos believe him?
While we ponder on that one and on hypoparathyroidism, let’s watch this seemingly “boneless” man shrink in size as he performs in a street in Paris.
Gloria Arroyo stopped a woman, with an illness and a case just like hers, from leaving the country for four years
Gloria Arroyo’s downfall actually started in July
Gloria Arroyo told Supreme Court we have an extradition treaty with Spain
Bohemian GMA Rhapsody – by singer-composer Jim Paredes
Part 2: Why did GMA treat Ampatuans as rebels, not suspected mass killers?
How Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got caught in her own mousetrap – halo vest and all
GMA photo wearing “halo vest” released by lawyer of last resort
Source: The Philippine Star.
GMA may need another surgery
Recently, GMA doctors found out that her Titanium implants were dislodged and decided that another operation should be done to correct it.
Watch out for Mrs. Horn’s announcement very soon.
Julian Makabayan says
the little girl is hemorrhaging money
Danny Jimenez says
Tama ka, Bong!
Source: The Philippine Daily Inquirer
Dr. Nona Legaspi, VMMC director denied a report that the former president would have to undergo another surgery for her bone ailment. GMA is stable.
N. Reyes says
To all the doctors out there who are following this blog:
Have you noticed that the St. Luke’s Hospital in Bonifacio Global City seems to be the favorite hospital of all the rich and powerful — whether politicians or non-politicians — who suddenly become seriously ill when charged with crimes? Maybe, they should build a separate patient’s ward for them with bars and a padlock. Then throw away the keys until they get well.
“Four years of medical school, clerkship, internship, residency & fellowship training” had made you a highly trained professional, who does not give a hoot to what’s going on in the government. You despise the politicians running the government and yet you close your eyes to the corruption going on around you. The country needs educated and financially secure professionals like you to lift our country from the quagmire we’re all sinking in. Don’t be too selfish to focus only on your life, family and job. We cannot make this country great again just by working our butts off. Let us not limit our participation in our democratic government to living morally, paying our taxes and voting in elections. Let’s all be active and proactive in exposing the anomalies perpetrated by our corrupt public officials who should be duly punished.
With all of these attention being focused on Mrs. Arroyo… we are being distracted from the current situation of our country… the economy is getting worst…more people are losing their jobs rather than those finding jobs… the future here in the Philippines looks more bleak. We are losing our natural resources, filipinos are being killed in china and we don’t even react….Damn these politicians… Pare-pareho lang sila… kung sino ang nasa taas, siya ang nanggigipit sa mga nasa baba… Its a game of power…. and we are just caught in between. Why are you all so earnest in judging Mrs. Arroyo… All these claims of corruptions… we all learned that from the media. Nababayaran din sila. Naniwala naman kayo agad. Not everything we heard on TV can be considered as facts. Why can’t we direct our energies on more productive works… These politicians are the bane on our nation… It is up to us common filipinos to work our butts off and make this country great again. Turn off that television please. If you’re not a doctor, stop making comments on medical issues. No matter how many articles you read on the internet, you will never grasp the concepts that were taught over 4 years of medical school, clerkship, internship, residency & fellowship training. If you’re not a lawyer, stop making judgements over issues that you barely understand. Can we just focus on our own lives… work towards excelllence… whether you are a call center agent, IT specialist, a mailman, a vendor, a teacher, a doctor or a lawyer… focus on your child… your family. The last time I checked, Mrs. Arroyo was the 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines. We placed her in power after EDSA Dos..I never voted for FPJ, did you? We hated ERAP then, why the sudden change of heart. How easily we forget. We never noticed PNOY before her mother died. I guess that is all I have to say. I’d rather go back to work.
Yes, you do that.
And you will have the same shit over and over again.
Keep your head down. Go back to work. Don’t be concerned about the overall political situation.
The economy has to be improved. At the same time politicians have to be made accountable.
The Philippines will not progress without BOTH.
Wow! Great job! Thanks a lot for the info..
nelson ongpauco says
salamat raissa sa blog mo. aksidente lang ang pagka kita ko sa blog mo at natutuwa ako .dahil hindi maganda at kulang ang news na nakikita sa tv at news paper dito sa california .ngayon alam ko na kung saan ako magbabasa ng news na walang kinikilinga at pawang totoo lamang.iimail ko sa kapatid ko sa london at sa anak ko sa florida para mabasa nila ang totoong balita…
maraming salamat din sa pagbasa mo, Nelson.
nelson ongpauco says
hoy tuta ni arroyo kasalanan ito ng mga pilipino na inalis nila si marcos ano ang ang napala ninyo ,,si marcos marami ang sa pinas marami siya napagawang tulay na papuntang visaya mga building mga taong nabigyan ng lupa na libre ..inalis siya dahil maraming mayaman ang naqgalit sa kanya dahil para sa mahirap siya ..gaya ni estrada sino ang presidente na pumalit sa kanya na nakagawa ng ginawa niya ,,,!!! wala parepareho lang na kurakot sa gobyerno at si arroyo ang pinakagrabe na presidente ..ano ang ginawa ni ramos kurakot din pati ang pera ng military kinurakot din ..si estrada ang pera na galing sa hueteng inilagay niya sa muslim fund .ang bank account niya pinabuksan ng mga senador pero ang kay corona ay ayaw nilang pabuksaan ,,,takot ang mga senador kay corona dahil mga kurakot din sila na ayaw na mabuksan pag sila naman ang may kaso …
@nelson ongpauco …Pilipino ka ba ? ay ano ba yan.. u wrote in tagalag so you must be one…so anu nga uli yung una mong sentence/pangungusap?…
i read all the comments / opinions and i do enjoy all of it, even though some of it has a misunderstanding with what Ms. Raissa blogs about… this is already the 21st Century, a call for us Filipino voters to be mature on who we are going to vote for.. kung magpapadala tayo sa pera-pera lang, walang mangyayari sa atin at sa kinabukasan ng mga susunod na henerasyon.. just think if our vote is worth a P1,000 (in local level, 3years po and upo nila sa posisyon) meaning, ang worth po ng vote natin ay 365days in a year x 3years =1,095 days / P1,000 = P1.095 !!!!! yan po ang bayad ng mga pulitiko sa atin, 1 peso and .095 cents po kada araw.
when we put them in a position, it doesn’t mean that they are free to do anything illegal. As they say, LAW is for all of us. Let a person answers her / his commited mistakes for the people. there is a due process… they can hired a thousand lawyers if they like (wala naman atang bawal din sa number ng lawyers????).
we all said that “ang galing ng Pinoy” ” ang talino ng Pinoy” “believe ako sa Pinoy”… give us a benefit then to have the intelligence from all the SPOKE(S)PERSON of anybody there who can afford a MAGALING NA TAGAPAG-SALITA na hwag din tayong lukuhin by what they are feeding us through MEDIAMEN.
Thanks for the very nice blog Raisa. This is abet. Kudos to you; the truth shall set us free.
Best regards to the family and Merry Christmas!
Of course I remember you.
Regards to you and Jovy.
P.S. If you want to be advised about my future postings, you can either use enter your e-mail address – using the Feedburner on my left sidebar.
Or Google Friend Connect – also on the left sidebar.
So, nahuling flat footed ang mga nabola ni torotot(Horn). Di ko alam kung gaano katagal ang research mo upang malaman kung may katotohanan ang sinabi ng kampo ni Gloria, pero wala sa gobyerno ang agad na nakapagsalita kung tunay ngang kailangan ng biopsy na available lamang abroad.
That’s a plus kay Gloria. Kaya naman pala very defiant at arrogant ang stance nila. Kaya nilang paandaran ang DOJ ang PNoy. Kailangan, sana, buong loob na isugod ng DOJ,
COMELEC at office of the Ombudsman ang paghabol sa mga kasalanan ni Gloria & Co. Ito lamang ang paraan upang mapag pangumbaba ang mga walanghiya.
Small but terrrrrible! GMA should languish in jail!
gunyong garces says
to prove the world that Justice will prevail in our country Philippines is to prosecute GMA.
Jun Del Mundos says
GMA and all her cohorts are all liars, iyan kasi ang trade mark ni inday gamay, sinungaling talaga. Hindi naman siya ang binoto ng mga common and majority people of the Phiippines; nandaya sila dahil nasa power sila. Hindi sya ang tunay na Presidente; si FPJ talaga ang winner.
Regarding her sickness, GMA and HORN fooled the Filipino people, may LIMIT lahat ng mga ginagawa nyo sa FILIPINO PEOPLE. The truth will prevail. GMA is the mother of all LIARS and EVIL. May karma yan pag di sila tumigil.
May DIYOS tayo na mag husga sa mga masasamang ginawawa nyo, pandaraya, kurakot, abuse of power, nepotism at iba pa. Pati pondo ng OFW ginamit pa para sa pandaraya sa 2004 election.
Dapat talaga makulong sya at walang special treatment. Dami ang nag hirap sa Pilipinas na mga Pinoys.
Pati mga doctor niloloko ni GMA at no HORN, tapos sabi nilang dalawa walang doctor sa Pilipinas na maka treat sa sakit nya. During her previous SONA, she was promoting medical tourism, tapos now, bumalingtad na. DOUBLE standard talaga, LIARS.
cecile natividad says
isama na natin diyan ang pamilya ligot! where are those bastards now… haist, tsk! tsk! God bless the Philippines… =(
A favor to ask you.
Can you find out the curriculum vitae of each doctor of GMA; Drs. Cervantes, Ver and Mirasol ?