Phenylketonuria is a metabolic disorder, where the individual is unable to metabolize a protein that is known as phenylalanine. The buildup of the phenylalanine within the blood stream can actually interfere with the development of the brain and cause serious retardation to the baby. Although this disorder is not very common you are probably wondering what causes it and who is susceptible to this type of disorder? In order for your baby to be born with PKU both parents must carry the recessive gene. If both parents do carry the trait, than your baby will have a one in five chance of being born with PKU. In order for the doctor to be able to determine if your baby has PKU they will need to perform a blood test within the first few days of birth.
If your baby is diagnosed with PKU the doctor will put him or her on a diet that is low in high protein foods. Some of these foods may include breast milk, cow’s milk and meat. This diet will usually have to be followed for about the first eight to nine years of your child’s life. The earlier that the treatment begins the better your child’s chances are of having a normal life. The later the diagnosis the more difficult it will be to treat. If your baby is diagnosed with this condition it is very important that you follow all of the doctor’s directions exactly. This will help to give your child the advantage that they will need tin order to advance in life normally.
Some parents are not aware that they even have the gene until after their child has been diagnosed. If you have already had one child and they have not been diagnosed with this disorder, it may be wise on your part to have yourself and your husband tested. Remember even if you both carry the recessive gene it does not mean that all of your children will get PKU. It is also important to keep in mind that if your baby is diagnosed with this disorder it does not mean that they will have problems for the rest of their life. What happens to then as a result of this disorder is really of to you and the doctors. To learn more about this disorder you can speak to your doctor and find out if you need to be concerned about PKU.