Can PKU Be Reversed?

Is PKU more common in males or females?

Each year 10,000 to 15,000 babies are born with the disease in the United States and Phenylketonuria occurs in both males and females of all ethnic backgrounds (although it is more common in individuals of Northern European and Native American heritage.).

What triggers phenylketonuria?

PKU is an inherited condition caused by a defect in the PAH gene. The PAH gene helps create phenylalanine hydroxylase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down phenylalanine. A dangerous buildup of phenylalanine can occur when someone eats high-protein foods, such as eggs and meat.

How does PKU affect the brain?

PKU affects the brain. When neurotransmitters are not made in the right amounts, the brain cannot function properly. High blood Phe levels can cause disruptions in neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are important for mood, learning, memory, and motivation.

How does PKU affect social development?

As children and adolescents, patients with PKU may have learning difficulties, school problems, decreased motivation, less social competence, irritability, hyperactivity, mood disorders, and poor self esteem.

Is PKU reversible?

The damage done to the brain if PKU is untreated during the first months of life is not reversible.

What is the life expectancy of a person with phenylketonuria?

PKU does not shorten life expectancy, with or without treatment. Newborn screening for PKU is required in all 50 states.

Is PKU a disability?

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a diagnosis of phenylketonuria, you must be able to prove that your condition prevents you from performing any type of substantial gainful work activity.

Can you drink alcohol with PKU?

Drinking and Having PKU Alcohol changes your brain processing and interferes with your judgment. High blood phe levels + alcohol dramatically increases these effects. “It doesn’t take much”. Even one drink together with high blood phe levels can significantly impair your thinking.

What foods are rich in phenylalanine?

Phenylalanine is found in most protein-containing foods such as milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, soybeans, chicken, beef, pork, beans and fish.

Can PKU be controlled by diet?

A low-protein diet is the main treatment for phenylketonuria (PKU). This is because people who have PKU lack an enzyme to properly process the amino acid phenylalanine, a part of protein. Phenylalanine is present in all protein foods and in some nonprotein foods, such as soda pop and artificial sweeteners.

Who is most likely to get PKU?

In the United States, PKU is most common in people of European or Native American ancestry. It is much less common among people of African, Hispanic, or Asian ancestry.

What does PKU smell like?

If PKU is untreated, or if foods containing phenylalanine are eaten, the breath, skin, ear wax, and urine may have a “mousy” or “musty” odor. This odor is due to a buildup of phenylalanine substances in the body.

Can a woman with PKU have a normal child?

Pregnancy and Phenylketonuria (PKU) Girls or women with PKU can have healthy children as long as they are aware of and maintain strict adherence to their low phenylalanine diet throughout their pregnancy.

Does PKU run in families?

PKU is passed down through families. For a baby to have the disease, he or she must get (inherit) the PKU gene from both parents. The father and mother may not have PKU or even know that PKU runs in their families.

What part of the body does phenylketonuria affect?

A. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a treatable disorder that affects the way the body processes protein. Children with PKU cannot use a part of the protein called phenylalanine. If left untreated, phenylalanine builds up in the bloodstream and causes brain damage.

Can you outgrow PKU?

A person with PKU does not outgrow it and must stay on the diet for life.

What happens if someone with PKU eat protein?

A dangerous buildup of phenylalanine can develop when a person with PKU eats protein-rich foods, such as milk, cheese, nuts or meat, and even grains such as bread and pasta, or eats aspartame, an artificial sweetener. This buildup of phenylalanine results in damage to nerve cells in the brain.

How does PKU cause mental retardation?

Mutations in the PAH gene can cause phenylketonuria (PKU), a disorder that can change cells in the brain. The faulty protein allows dangerously high levels of phenylalanine to accumulate in the brain, poisoning the cells. If a person with PKU consumes too much phenylalanine, the build-up can cause mental retardation.