How to Manage Metabolic Disorders?
Before knowing about metabolic disorders you must know what is normal metabolism? Metabolism is defined as the group of chemical reactions that sustains life in an organism. Any alteration in these chemical reactions can disturb the functioning of the body and results in metabolic disorders. Usually, these metabolic disorders are inherited and occur due to any genetic anomaly. This defective gene causes deficiency of the specific enzyme disrupting the normal functions of the body. A metabolic disorder is a broad term to be defined which covers hundreds of similar conditions.
Chemical reactions which go in the body generate the energy that helps in carrying out all the body functions smoothly. Some of them are:
- Break down of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats present in the food to release energy.
- Excessive nitrogen is transformed into waste products and excreted out of the body through urine.
- Breakdown or conversion of chemical substances and their transportation into the cells.
Metabolism is an organized group of chemical reactions but complex too. There are constant processes of production, usage; transportation and excretion are going on in the body. All these things become possible only due to the enzymes which act as a catalyst in these reactions. When these processes fail there occur imbalances of the essential substances in the body, either they are too little or too much in the body. The body needs certain proteins and amino acids to function normally like brain requires sodium, calcium, and potassium. All these things are needed to generate electrical impulses in the brain and maintain the healthy functioning of the nervous system. A metabolic disorder can be manifested in various forms like:
- Missing vitamins or enzymes that are required for necessary chemical reactions.
- Hindrance of chemical reactions by an abnormal chemical reaction.
- Diseases of various major organs like endocrine glands, liver, etc.
- Deficiencies of specific nutrition.
Due to all these things, certain organs like liver or pancreas stop functioning normally ultimately leading to metabolic disorders. Genetic deficiency or specific enzyme or hormone, excessive consumption of certain foods and many other factors can lead to metabolic disorders. Abnormal mutation of a single gene can result in numerous metabolic disorders. Inheritance plays a major role in passing down of these metabolic disorders in families and generations.
Some of the Most Common Metabolic Disorders
Diabetes is the most common type of metabolic disorder. It has spread worldwide with the passing time. Diabetes is of two types, type 1 and type 2.
- Type 1 diabetes or Juvenile diabetes is usually due to an agenetic mutation in which immune cells destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This leads to thedeficiency of the insulin which disturbs the metabolism of the carbohydrates. All of this eventually leads to increased blood sugar.
- Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes in which insulin production is fine but the cells of the body become resistant to it. Insulin is present in sufficient amount but the body's cells do not respond to it that ultimately results in increased blood sugar level.
This increase in blood sugar level if remains for a long time then it can result in various health ailments and complications like:
- Damage to the kidneys and nerves
- Impairment to the eyesight
- Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
Obesity is also one of the most common metabolic disorders which result in increased deposition of the fat on certain parts of the body. It is caused due to the presence of certain other factors in the body like hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. More than the metabolic disorder it is a part of the metabolic syndrome.
3. Gaucher's Disease
This is a type of metabolic disorder in which there occurs an inability of the body to break down a certain type of fat. It leads to accumulation of the fat in liver, bone marrow and spleen. Accumulation of fat in bones results in weakening of the tissues of the bones which ultimately increases the risk of fractures. Interference of this disease with bone marrow can affect the body's ability to clot normally.
In this, there occurs abnormality in the ability of the body to produce a certain enzyme, i.e. phenylalanine hydroxylase. This results in musty dour in the skin, breath or urine, retardation of the mental ability, organ damage, abnormal posture, etc.
5. Maple Syrup Urine Disease
This metabolic disease hinders the metabolism of some specific amino acids which results in degeneration of the neurons. It is a very deadly disorder which if not treated can lead to the death of a child only a few months after birth.
6. Glucose-galactose malabsorption
In this, there is a defect in the transportation of the galactose and glucose through the lining of the stomach that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Symptoms of this disease can only be controlled by removing certain things from the diet like sucrose, lactose, and glucose.
7. Hereditary Hemochromatosis
In this metabolic disorder, there occurs excessive accumulation of the iron in major organs and results in diseases like heart disease, liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and diabetes. It's only management in conventional medicine is phlebotomy, i.e. removing blood from the body.
Other than these there is a long list of other metabolic disorders as well like Lipid metabolism disorders, metabolic brain diseases, acid-base balance, malabsorption syndromes, porphyrias, metabolic skin diseases, wasting syndrome, etc.
Metabolic disorders are usually present at birth time and can be detected by proper screening. Commonly at birth, the symptoms are not present and hence diagnosis can be missed. They are usually diagnosed in adult age when signs and symptoms start to appear. Specific DNA testing and blood tests are helpful in diagnosing these ailments.
Usually, these are managed instead of being treated in the conventional system of medicine as there are no specific medicines for them to be corrected. However Ayurvedic system of medicine offers certain herbs that can help in managing and treating the signs and symptoms that trouble the patients suffering from these metabolic disorders.
Ayurveda is the more reliable system of medicine to have opted for these chronic troubles as even in long run herbal medicines are completely safe to take.