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A 17-year-old male asked:

Can you develops pku later in life?

4 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Katharine Cox
Pediatric Emergency Medicine 45 years experience
No: PKU is a genetic disease that you are born with. Newborn screening helps to diagnose this disease and guides the treatment. Having it diagnosed later in life leads to more problems. A special diet low in phenylalanine is the treatment. During pregnancy it is particularly important.
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Never: The metabolic defect of PKU is present in the fetus, but is inconsequential because the fetus does not consume or process food. Soon after the newborn starts feeding (24hr) the blood levels of phe will be elevated. By age 3 or so untreated kids have developmental delay and some have seizures.There are mild forms of hyperphenylalaninemia but this is not PKU.,
Dr. E. Regina Widman
Family Medicine 46 years experience
No, genetic disorder: Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder and all babies born in the United States are screened for this at birth. the body can't process part of a protein called Phenylalanine. When diagnosed, the treatment is a diet with low protein foods. There are special formulas for babies with "PKU". Both parents must pass on this gene for the baby to have "PKU" Excellent information at www.nihlgov
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Not possible: PKU is not a disease you can get.It is based on mistakes in the genes where the protein cannot be metabolized properly.Your body gets 2 copies of the gene, if one is defective, the other can do the work, but if you are born with 2 defective genes you have the problem at birth.Once you start consuming protein, your metabolism can't process the phenylalanine.

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Last updated Jul 18, 2016

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