At first, this man thought he had food poisoning. It turned out to be something far worse.
Jeffrey Sank, 43 years old, always knew when he was going to have an attack: Its onset was signaled by the same kind of uneasy, “uh-oh” feeling that portends an impending cold. But Sank’s problem wasn’t in his head - it was in his gut. And when he felt the initial abdominal pangs, he knew that he had about 12 hours before he was miserable, or at worst incapacitated, for the next day or two. At first the attacks were intermittent. But after several months the pain, centered in the right upper quadrant where the liver and gallbladder are located, increased in severity and frequency. Sank had also discovered that during the episodes he ran a low-grade fever - less than 101 degrees - which suggested a possible infection.
Clue 1: He didn’t have cancer
Clue 2: Gallstones were not present
Clue 3: A CT scan just after an attack showed nothing abnormal
Clue 4: Blood test revealed that his level of C-reactive protein, which measures inflammation, was sky-high at 148 mg/liter
Clue 5: Tests ruled out malaria as well as porphyria, an inherited disorder that can cause abdominal pain
Clue 6 : No sign of adhesions, a form of scar tissue that can cause recurrent pain
Clue 7: Tests ruled out pancreatitis, a perforated ulcer and a rare hereditary disorder called angioedema.
Can you find out the cause?