Carotenaemia: does the skin tell us a story?
A couple of weeks ago I saw two patients having similar problems. Both the patients were around two years old, had deep yellow colouration of palms and soles. There were no other complaints. Their parents thought that their baby has been suffering from jaundice. On examination other than deep yellow colouration of palms and soles, there was no yellow coloration of eyes but urine was a bit more yellow. Their appetite was good and both of them were playful. Their livers were not enlarged, no itching and other findings were normal.
Feeding history revealed that both the mother used to give carrots and pumpkins every day in their food. Carrots and pumpkins contain carotenoid, excess consumption of which developed this deep yellow colour of the palms and soles of their child. This condition is called carotenaemia.
Foods high in carotene are carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, egg yolks and other orange-coloured foods. Carotenaemia is a harmless condition in which the palms and soles become deep yellow due to excess consumption of carotene-containing foods regularly.
The treatment for this condition is very simple. Just withdraw carotene-containing food for three to four weeks. The yellow discolouration will gradually disappear and no medication is needed.
Excess of anything is not good, rather it creates problems. Thus avoid excess consumption of any food whatever it may be.
The author is a Professor of Paediatrics at Community Based Medical College, Mymensingh. E-mail: email@example.com