What Is a Metabolic Disorder?


Quick Answer

A metabolic disorder is when abnormal chemical reactions in the body disturb the metabolic process, states MedlinePlus. The metabolic process, or metabolism, is the process by which the body converts food into energy, states Healthline. The body breaks down nutrients in food using enzymes and then transports them to the cells.

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What Is a Metabolic Disorder?
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Full Answer

Metabolic disorders can develop as the result of diseases in organs such as the liver or pancreas. However, they can also be genetic, states WebMD. In most cases of genetic metabolic disorders, the body does not produce a particular enzyme that is needed for the metabolic process. In other cases, the body does produce the enzyme, but the enzyme does not function correctly in the body.

Those with inherited metabolic disorders usually inherit defective copies of the genes from each parent, explains WebMD. Treatment for inherited metabolic disorders often includes diet changes, enzyme replacements and treatment to detoxify metabolic by-products.

The most common type of metabolic disorder is diabetes, states Healthline. Type 2 diabetes is often an acquired disease, although genetic factors may influence the disease. As of 2015, the cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown.

Diabetes is a disease that causes high blood glucose levels in the body due to a problem with insulin, explains MedlinePlus. With type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin, but it does not work well. The body needs insulin to convert blood glucose into energy.

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