Galactosemia is an inherited disorder that prevents a person from processing the sugar galactose, which is found in many foods. Galactose also exists as part of another sugar, lactose, found in all dairy products.
Normally when a person consumes a product that contains lactose, the body breaks the lactose down into galactose and glucose. Galactosemia means too much galactose builds up in the blood. This accumulation of galactose can cause serious complications such as an enlarged liver, kidney failure, cataracts in the eyes or brain damage. If untreated, as many as 75% of infants with galactosemia will die.
Duarte galactosemia is a variant of classic galactosemia. Fortunately, the complications associated with classic galactosemia have not been associated with Duarte galactosemia.
There is some disagreement over the need for dietary restriction in the treatment of children with Duarte galactosemia. Consult your healthcare professional for his or her advice on this topic.