Biochemistry is easy to understand, it is the many things that our body does that makes it work. Every part of our body, from digestion to respiration, is in some way a biochemical process. Chemical processes occur between every organism in our body, and because of that, they keep our bodies in balance.
However, biochemical diseases throw that balance off by interfering with the body’s natural biochemical processes which can make the body sick and can cause long-term damage to the growth of organs. Several of them also affect organs and the brain, leading to some mental problems and developmental troubles.
Many of these biochemical diseases are due to either a deficiency of some sort or because of the body’s inability to break down an enzyme or produce a certain chemical.
Examples of biochemical diseases
These sicknesses mostly can be detected at birth and if treated and managed, they can be cured. For example, one disease is chronic Granulomatous disease, a deficiency of the enzyme NADPH oxidase which gives a deficiency of the respiratory burst.
The respiratory burst is an explosion of reactive oxygen from cells in order to destroy bacteria, and the disease will weaken the immune system and cause the host to become more frequently infected with both normal and abnormal sicknesses.
However, placing the patient on antibiotics can help to give the immune system the boost that the enzyme normally would have.
Another example is Phenylketonuria, which is a lack of a second enzyme that breaks down phenylalanine. This chemical can build up in the body, and without an enzyme to break it down, it can cause some health problems. A meatless diet can slow down the process, but if it isn’t stopped then it can cause some severe brain damage.
Children are scanned for the disease at birth, and those that have it must go on the diet immediately to prevent negative effects.
Preventing biochemical diseases
More and more biochemical processes, as well as the diseases that can spawn because they aren’t working properly, are discovered every year. There isn’t one specific shot or cure that people can take to avoid being the victim of a biochemical disease, and the cure itself depends on what the body isn’t doing or making.
The cures often try to recreate the missing process or the result, and most people are on the cure their entire lives, as death is a real possibility if the body is not kept in complete balance. Some people have to take medication, have regular checkups with a doctor, and add or subtract certain foods or chemicals from their diet.
The treatments come down to one of three main strategies: Either adding the missing product to the body, replacing the enzyme that the body can’t produce with something else, or removing an excess chemical that the body can’t naturally break down.
Scientists are looking for a way to ensure that these biochemical diseases are easily treatable, but until then, fixing the process themselves is all affected people can do.