A YOUNG boy who was so pale doctors feared he had a deadly disease has finally been given a surprising diagnosis.
Laura Donovan's son Johnny, from Oregon, US, now two, took a liking to cow's milk when he was just one years old.
Johnny enjoyed the drink so much he consumed around 900ml of milk a day – much higher than the 350ml recommended by the NHS for his age group.
By age two, Johnny tended to be more fatigued, fussy and moody than most toddlers his age.
He was also very pale, which his mother assumed was because of the bad Pacific Northwest weather and their Irish heritage.
However, the child's pediatrician expressed concern over his combination of symptoms and ordered series of blood tests to find the cause.
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The comprehensive blood panel showed that Johnny was low in the vital mineral, iron.
The doctor feared that low iron levels pointed to a leukemia diagnosis.
However, Johnny had a severe iron deficient, otherwise known as anaemia which had been caused by Johnny's excessive milk drinking.
Anaemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells.
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Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.
Milk is known to interfere with the body's ability to absorb iron from food and supplements.
Johnny's anaemia was so bad that he'd developed an accompanying heart murmur – which is when the blood flows abnormally across the heart valves- sometimes causing a whooshing sound.
Lauren said: "My husband and I regret assuming that Johnny was moody when his heart was quite literally distressed."
The young boy received his first iron transfusion right away and got his second and final one the next week.
He also started taking iron supplements every other day.
In an essay, published in Insider, Lauren said Johnny's doctor told her that "most parents are unaware that too much milk can be a problem".
"The hematologist also told me that most children are completely different people after recovering from anaemia, which can cause headaches, weakness, fatigue, and a host of other maladies," she explained.
Johnny recovered from his heart murmur and anemia a month and a half into treatment.
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Lauren said: "Everyone in our lives observed an immediate improvement in his disposition.
"Now he has the willingness and energy to eat, smiles at everyone he sees, and wakes up talking eagerly to his stuffed animals — a stark contrast to when he'd start and end his days in tears," she added.
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