The food we eat is broken down to simpler components of carbohydrates, proteins as well as fats. This breaking down of complex foods into simpler compounds within the body is called metabolism. When the normal process of metabolism is disrupted due to an inherited or acquired condition, it is termed as a metabolic disorder. There are different types of metabolic disorders that are said to affect about 26 million Americans. We shall discuss and have a look at a list of metabolic disorders in this HealthHearty article.
List of Metabolic Disorders Affecting People
Metabolism is a continuous process that goes on all the time. Whether a person is eating, sleeping, talking, running or just lazing around, metabolism continues. It helps to carry out many body functions like healing of injuries, damage repair, regulation of body temperature, creation of new body cells, removal of toxins from the body, etc. Metabolism occurs the minute food enters the stomach and the digestion begins. The enzymes released by the pancreas and thyroid gland help in breakdown of digested food into simpler substances. These simple substances are absorbed by the body cells and thus, help in release of energy and carry out other process within the body.
But when metabolic disorders occur, it causes abnormal chemical reactions to occur. This disrupts the normal functioning of the body and leads to health problems. There are different types of metabolic disorders that include inherited metabolic disorders. However, inherited metabolic disorders are found to be very rare and affect just 1 in about 1,000 to 2,500 newborns.
An overactive thyroid gland is considered to be a metabolic disorder. Thyroid gland releases thyroxine that helps in proper functioning of the metabolism. However, when released in high amounts, it causes increase in basal metabolic rate (BMR). Thus, causing excessive weight loss, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and swelling in the neck.
The opposite of hyperthyroidism is hypothyroidism. When an under-active thyroid gland causes deficiency of thyroid hormones, it leads to a number of health problems. The person suffers from low basal metabolic rate, excessive weight gain, slow heart rate, constipation, etc.
One of the common metabolic disorders is diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body fails to utilize glucose properly. Thus, causing high blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. In case of type 1 diabetes, pancreas produce too little or no insulin. Thus, the person needs to be given insulin everyday. This causes fatigue, constant hunger, weight loss and blurred vision. If left untreated, it could lead to diabetic coma. Type 2 diabetes is the common form striking people around the world. The pancreas do produce insulin, but the body turns resistant to its effects. Thus, the patient requires more insulin to help perform the same functions.
Addision's disease occurs when the adrenal glands present on the kidneys fail to produce sufficient amount of cortisol and aldosterone. Thus, the affected person suffers from skin darkening, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, nausea and muscle pain. The symptoms develop gradually over many months. The person is required to undergo hormone replacement therapy to control this condition.
This is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder that is also called Tay-Sachs disease. This is one of the types of metabolic disorders in children that causes mental deterioration as well as loss of physical abilities. It strikes by the age of 6 months and causes death of child by the age of 4 years.
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency (G6PD)
G6PD is a metabolic disorder that occurs as an X-linked recessive hereditary disease. The G6PD is an enzyme produced by red blood cells. It is very important for metabolism of carbohydrates. Deficiency of G6PD causes damage and destruction of the red blood cells. This leads to a condition called haemolytic anemia. The patient suffers from lack of skin color, confusion, weakness, fatigue, dark-colored urine and fever.
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a genetic disorder that causes inability to break down the amino acid phenylalanine in the body. It leads to mental retardation and seizures in affected infants. This condition does not show any symptoms during birth. However, as the child grows the gradual build up of phenylalanine leads to symptoms such as mental retardation, stunted growth, small head size, behavioral problems, etc., in the affected child.
There are many other metabolic disorders that affect the carbohydrate metabolism, organic acid metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, purine or pyrimidine metabolism, steroid metabolism, lysosomal storage disorders, metabolic acidosis, etc. One should seek treatment for these metabolic disorders. If left untreated, it could prove to be fatal.