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When the Patient is Well

The most important information about the patient's baseline health will come from the medical history.  No one is as familiar with a particular patient's symptoms of concern as the patient him/herself or the parents or closest/family members.  They are probably aware of symptoms that manifest themselves early on when the patient is becoming sick or unstable.  It is worthwhile becoming familiar with these symptoms since they can be helpful in gauging a patient's well-being.

However, it is useful to establish some baseline information about the patient including:

  • Baseline temperature, day and night. Patients with mitochondrial disease often have lower-than-normal body temperature, sometimes running between 95°F and 97°F during the day and even lower at night. This is important information to know when assessing how sick a patient is. How significant a patient's fever is should be determined based on comparison with the patient's baseline, not the typical 98.6°F.
  • Vital signs. Some patients with mitochondrial disease display a vascular dysautonomia with orthostatic changes in heart rate or blood pressure (see AUTONOMIC DYSREGULATION). Such patients can exhibit symptoms including fatigue and dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when they do not take in adequate fluids.
  • Growth. Changes in medical status can impact appetite and growth, so regular monitoring of growth parameters are necessary.
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