Child Wellness: Galactosemia
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When raising a healthy child, milk and cheese are part of a healthy diet. But for some children, a diet with dairy can be life-threatening.
Nicole Casale found this out firsthand when her son, Joseph, was just diagnosed with galactosemia, a genetic condition in which the body can't break down a simple sugar commonly found in milk.
"It's a very rare, genetic, metabolic disorder," Casale said. "Instead of the galactose being broken down into energy, it just becomes a poison in his body and goes to different areas - cataracts, blindness, brain, liver, kidney damage."
There is no cure for the condition, which affects about one in 60,000 people. The treatment is a diet free of galactose, meaning milk and certain fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and chickpeas are out.
Though some doctors suggest a less strict diet for the kids, the Casales are not taking any chances.
"We are not going to allow him to have tomatoes, watermelon," Casale said. "Your body produces galactose so that's kind of a strike against you anyway."
The family is hopeful more research will be done to better understand and treat this disorder.