By, Madison Williams

Cause and Effect.

Phenylketonuria also known as PKU, is a very rare, inherited disorder. It affects the baby, as soon as it enters the world. This disorder causes an amino acid called 'phenylalanine' to get stuck and build up in your body.

PKU is caused by a defect in the gene, that helps make the enzyme that is needed to break down phenylalanine.

Symptoms and Treatments.

When a baby is born, at first they don't have any symptoms. However, with no treatment, after a few months the baby will start showing symptoms. Some symptoms are: Mental Retardation, Neurological problems (seizures), Fair Skin or Rashes.

A person who has PKU, have to eat a certain diet or these symptoms will occur. This diet has to last a life time. In this diet, avoiding foods with high levels of protein are curtail, like Milk, Eggs, Beans and any meats. Diet Sodas, or drinks with aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), need to be avoided. Some people with PKU, take a special formula, that gives them nutrients without phenylalanine. Babies and Toddlers with PKU can't drink normal formula and can't breast feed, so they must consume a formula that in phenylalanine free. Many parents get a dietitian for their child, to get the right diet and formula for their children.

Life Expectancy.

The life Expectancy for some one with PKU, and they don't treat it, is about 65 years. They can live as long as anyone else, but they may have to deal with mental and some physical problems. So it's best to treat it the best you can and the child should live a long, healthy life.