Dear Ask The Doctor: My father is a 61 year old male. He took a fall while roller skating at my daughters birthday party back in July of 2010 and injured his shoulder. He spent several months in a great deal of pain. Concerned he finally sought treatment and began physical therapy. Meanwhile, he had a blood panel done about a month ago. His test came back with liver enzymes elevated so much they asked if he had a drinking problem. My father is a non-drinker, not even an occassional drink out of pure hatred towards the acholism his parents went through. He also had high blood pressure. After several months of his should pain not getting any better, they did a test (cannot recall why type of imaging) and it should an abnormality in his bone marrow - a growth? They have scheduled nuclear imaging with dye for next week. His mother died of leukemia at the age of 72. I am not asking for any medical diagnosis, but just advice of the possible medical issues he could be facing so I can do as much research as possible so I'm prepared for the outcome. Please let me know what you think.
Dear Patient: Considering the positive family history of leukemia, and a strong negative history of alcohol for your father, leukemia seems to be a more likely diagnosis as it compromises liver function leading to the elevated levels of liver enzymes. Another diagnosis could be a secondary growth, which is a growth not located primarily in the bone marrow, but in other parts of the body, likely the bones. Other possible causes for the elevated levels of liver enzymes could be a viral liver infection, or medication that he may have been taking (possible herbal or other over the counter medications). I hope this helps.