MANILA, Philippines -- While still recovering from a mild stroke amid a word war with fellow lawmakers, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has suffered new health woes.
Santiago was diagnosed on Friday with a chronic bone marrow disorder resulting in low red blood cell and hemoglobin count, known as “slow bone marrow,” according to the senator's media bureau.
Hemoglobin is a protein that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. With low hemoglobin count, the blood cannot carry an adequate supply of oxygen, causing fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
In extreme cases, bone marrow transplantation from the patient’s family may be needed.
In a statement, Santiago's media bureau said the senator once defied her bone marrow disorder.
"A few years ago, she disobeyed doctors’ orders and took a long flight to Europe to deliver a lecture at an international conference," the statement read.
"But when she reached Turkey, and reported for the lecture, she suddenly fell down from the stage on her way to the podium, thus breaking her arm and her eyeglasses. She insisted on delivering her lecture, and her efforts received an ovation from the international crowd. The accident was shown on Philippine TV," it added.
Santiago's blood tests also showed that she has high cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL or "bad” cholesterol, which could increase the risk of her suffering from atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
The senator also suffers from high calcium, uric acid, and blood urea.
Quoting a doctor who requested anonymity, the senator's media bureau said with Santiago's stressful lifestyle, she is just endangering herself.
"Sen. Santiago is a ticking time bomb. Her lifestyle is ultra stressful, because she is too passionate and intense about her work. She is endangering herself," the doctor said.
Santiago, meanwhile, said: “I am quarantined from certain toxic people, and I am sequestered from political news. I may as well be shot. But then again, I will have more time for my four granddaughters, every single one of whom is precocious, beautiful, brilliant, and a potential Olympic champion.”
Santiago suffered from hypertension and mild stroke after her interview with ANC's morning show Headstart on Wednesday.
Blood vessels in her right eye also burst after the interview, where she lambasted Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile whom she accused of personally attacking her.
Doctors of Santiago has advised her to “disengage from politics” or else risk another stroke or even a heart attack.