Galactosemia is a genetically inherited metabolic disorder. This disorder leaves the disabled with a partial or complete lack of the enzyme Galactose 1 Phosphate Uridyl Transferase (GALT). This enzyme is found in the bloodstream and it is used for breaking down the sugar galactose. This disorder comes in two different variations. Though there is more than one type, it is still rare, having only 1 in 80,000 births being affected by the disorder.
Classic Galactosemia is the first and more common form of the disorder. This is the form when the affected has a complete loss of the enzyme. Both parents must contribute a galactosemic gene for a child to receive this very deadly form of the disorder. Because the body has none of the enzyme needed to turn galactose into glucose an accumulation occurs that is like a poison and is highly fatal. Classic Galactosemia is treatable through a strict diet of absolutely no lactose or galactose. Some common foods containing these are dairy products, legumes, breast milk, and many other foods. A test for galactosemia is done at the time of birth with other tests. If left untreated 75% of infants will die. Some effects of having classic galactosemia include: an enlarged liver, kidney failure, cataract, and brain damage.
Duarte Galactosemia is the second form. This form is when there is only a partial loss of the enzyme. The activity is usually 25%-50% that of a normal child. A child can get this form of galactosemia by inheriting a classic galactosemia gene from one parent and a duarte gene from the other. Much like classic galactosemia, duarte is found through a test done soon after birth. A strict diet is not needed for this form of the disorder. Instead a diet, it is recommended that lactose be slowly introduced until normal consumption is accepted by the body. Because the affected can still process the foods, just not as well as a fully functional body.
A person with no galactosemia...