Metabolic disorders – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 by

Metabolic disorders refer to any condition that interferes with metabolism – the process by which the body transforms the nutrients it receives from food (i.e., proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) to essential substances it needs to function.

Given its broad scope, the condition covers a lot of disorders. However, a metabolic disorder covers at least one of the following conditions:

  • A missing enzyme needed for a chemical reaction;
  • An abnormal chemical reaction that interferes with metabolism;
  • A disease in the liver, endocrine glands, or other organs that are part of a metabolic process; and/or
  • Nutritional deficiencies.

Metabolic disorders also cover mitochondrial diseases, which affect the cell’s ability to process energy.

Diabetes mellitus, a condition that affects over 400 million people around the world, is an example of a metabolic disorder.

Known risk factors and kinds of metabolic disorders

For the most part, a metabolic disorder is caused by either an impairment in function in certain organs, deficient or lacking enzymes caused by genetics, or a consuming too much of certain food items.

In particular, inherited metabolic disorders – genetic conditions that are inherited from a parent – affect at least one in 5,000 newborns. Parents who have had a child with a metabolic disorder may also produce offspring that are affected by the condition. Certain racial and ethnic groups are also predisposed to certain metabolic disorders. Sickle cell anemia, the presence of distorted red blood cells, is common among people from Africa. Those of European descent, on the other hand, are more prone to get cystic fibrosis, a progressive disease that leads to lung infections and impairs breathing over time.

There are a lot of inherited metabolic disorders. Some examples include the following.

Body systems affected by metabolic disorders

Metabolic disorders, for the most part, affect various organ systems in the body, depending on its type and severity.

If left untreated, metabolic disorders are not only serious, but they can potentially be fatal in certain cases. Complications can include organ failure and dysfunction, seizures and tremors, and comas.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent or relieve metabolic disorders

Most metabolic disorders affect how the body processes certain proteins and fats – in particular, amino acids and lipids. Thus, healthcare professionals recommend a low-protein diet to prevent the accumulation of amino acids in the body.

In a low-protein diet, the following foods are avoided:

  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Nuts and legumes, including peanut butter
  • Dairy products like milk and cheese

Food items such as potatoes and pasta which are high in starch, as well as fruits and vegetables should be eaten in controlled amounts. Olive oil can also be used in meal preparation, as it contains needed dietary fat but no protein.

Treatment and management options for metabolic disorders

The first step in treating metabolic disorders is to seek the advice of a healthcare professional. He will then provide a treatment approach for the condition, which will address the specific disorder that a person has. For cases of inherited metabolic disorders, this is treated with nutritional counseling and support, regular monitoring, physical therapy, as well as other supportive care options.

Those with acquired metabolic disorders, such as those from consumption of certain food items, will undergo treatment to restore metabolic balance by reversing the cause and medication.

Where to learn more

Summary

Metabolic disorders interfere with metabolism, in particular: a missing enzyme needed for a chemical reaction; an abnormal chemical reaction that interferes with metabolism; a disease in the liver, endocrine glands, or other organs that are part of a metabolic process; and, nutritional deficiencies. It also covers mitochondrial diseases, which affect the cell’s ability to process energy.

If left untreated, metabolic disorders are not only serious, but they can potentially be fatal in certain cases. Complications can include organ failure and dysfunction, seizures and tremors, and comas.

Since a lot of metabolic disorders affect how the body processes amino acids and lipids. Thus, healthcare professionals recommend a low-protein diet to prevent the accumulation of amino acids in the body.

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Healthline.com

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HamiltonHealthSciences.ca [PDF]



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