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Galactosemia In Infants - Know the Reasons Behind It!

MD- Paediatrics & Neonatology, MBBS
Pediatrician, Gurgaon  •  17 years experience
Galactosemia In Infants - Know the Reasons Behind It!

An infant is usually called a bundle of joy and with good reason. There are simple and carefree, and bring a smile to your face with their antics. However, the mood and health of an infant can be tarnished due to an issue which is known as galactosemia.

What is Galactosemia?
When a baby has galactosemia, he or she will have a problem when it comes to digesting galactose, which is something that is present not only in milk but in all milk products. Galactose is a sort of sugar, just like fructose and glucose is. As a matter of fact, lactose, which is what milk has, is, in fact, a combination of glucose and galactose. Also, when lactose is processed, it is broken down by the human body into its constituents.

The condition is something that is passed down through the genes of the parents of the baby. The condition would occur if the gene which causes a tendency for a baby to have galactosemia is present not only in one parent but both of them. A baby who has the condition will be lacking an enzyme which is known as the GALT enzyme. The enzyme could also not be functioning as it should be under normal circumstances.

When it comes to the problem, it is very important, to say the least, to detect it sooner rather than later as if there is a build-up of unprocessed galactose which is allowed to occur, it can affect the baby adversely and in some cases, it can also be threatening to the life of the baby!

How does it affect a baby?
The problems which can erupt due to galactosemia include issues which affect organs such as the brain, eyes, liver and kidneys. It is interesting to take note of the fact that these are all organs which either have something to do either processing the blood or are heavily dependent on it. While a baby is not in the position in which he or she can communicate the issues that are being faced, when keeping an eye out for galactosemia, the signs which are displayed include an irritability of the baby as well as lacking consumption of the milk of the mother.

Even though galactosemia may not be the case, a doctor should be consulted as the exacerbated issue can include seizures and jaundice. It is to be kept in mind that galactose is something that can be found not only in the milk of the cow but also human milk as well as the milk of other animals such as goats.

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