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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Orange Knees
Posted by: Joe
Date: January 25, 2007 11:49 AM

I am a 58 year old male with chronic fatigue since 1991 and fibromyalgia diagnosed in 1997. I have orange knees and orange ankles which doctors remark upon but no one can remember what it means! I am not a redhead either. It is most obvious after a shower or putting moisturizers on. My skin is dermagraphic and will not tan at all, even though I have dark eyes and hair. Any idea what this means?

RE: Orange Knees
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: January 25, 2007 9:09 PM

If the skin is really orange, and not some other color, that almost always means carotenemia which is an excess of beta-carotene in the blood. If this is the case, it is harmless and occurs when one eats too many foods containing beta-carotene (e.g. pumpkin, carrot, most yellow or orange vegetables). This gives the skin a yellow or orange coloring. Carotenemia is usually harmless, but it is important to distinguish it from jaundice or other very serious conditions which also cause yellow skin or orange skin such as hyperpigmentation which can be the symptom of some severe diseases (e.g. Addison's, scleroderma). Hemochromatosis should also be considered. Carotenemia should not cause yellow eyes whereas jaundice usually does, though there are exceptions. I am not making a diagnosis here, but simply reflecting the possibilities.



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