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What are the Different Types of Metabolism Disorders?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2016
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There are several disorders that affect the metabolism, resulting in various medical issues. Two of the most common metabolism disorders include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, both of which are caused by issues with the thyroid gland. Diabetes is another well-known metabolic disorder that is caused by high blood sugar levels. Galactosemia and phenylketonuria are two metabolism diseases that are caused by the body's inability to break down certain products. All of these disorders produce varied symptoms, and tend to end up affecting more than just the metabolism.

Hypothyroidism involves an underactive thyroid gland, which can be caused by thyroid disease, pituitary gland problems, deficiency of a certain vitamin, or a developmental issue. The result is that not enough thyroxine is released, leading to a reduction in basal metabolic rate that can result in unexplained weight gain, exhaustion, dry skin, joint pain, and a slower heart rate. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism is a result of an overactive thyroid gland that releases too much thyroxine, increasing the basal metabolic rate. The result is weight loss, high blood pressure, eyes that protrude, and a higher heart rate. Treatment for either of these metabolism disorders includes medications, hormone replacement therapy, and surgery.

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Diabetes is one the main metabolism disorders, and it occurs when blood sugar levels are too high. Type 1 diabetes is caused by low or no insulin production, requiring patients to take insulin to help the blood sugar balance out. Type 2 diabetes, however, is caused by the body not properly using the insulin that the pancreas makes. Both types of metabolism disorders produce symptoms like fatigue, blurred vision, weight loss, and slower healing of wounds. Additionally, both types of diabetes often result in increased hunger, thirst, and urination.

Galactosemia is a genetic disorder in which the body is missing an enzyme that is necessary to break down galactose, which is found in milk products. Galactose tends to build up in the blood since it cannot be digested, resulting in an enlarged liver, vomiting, and jaundice. Phenylketonuria, PKU, is another genetic disorder, but it is caused by the body's inability to digest the amino acid phenylalanine. Though this metabolic disorder is often present at birth, symptoms such as seizures, a small head, behavioral issues, or mental retardation do not usually show up for some time. Both of these metabolism disorders tend to affect infants the most, and can lead to serious problems if not diagnosed and treated in time.

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