About Mitochondrial Disease
What is mitochondrial disease?
Mitochondrial diseases result when there is a defect that reduces the ability of the mitochondria to produce energy. As the mitochondria fails to produce enough energy, the cell will not function properly and if this continues, cell death will eventually follow. Organ systems will begin to fail and the life of the individual is compromised, changed or ended.
Imagine a major city with half its power plants shut down. At least, such conditions would produce a “brown out” with large sections of the city working far below optimum efficiency. Now imagine your body working with one-half of its energy-producing facilities shut down. The brain may be impaired, vision may be dim, muscles may twitch or may be too weak to allow your body to walk or write, your heart or lungs may be weakened, and you may not be able to eat and digest your food. You may experience autonomic dysfunction which causes diffiulties regulating heart rate, blood pressure, heat/cold intolerance and function of the intestines and bladder.
For large numbers of people, especially children, this is precisely the situation in which they find themselves due to defects in the mitochondria-organelles found in almost every cell of the body which are responsible for the body's energy production. Mitochondrial diseases compromise their lives and can be fatal.
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