For illustration purposes only. Pix: Diet.comMELAKA: Awareness among Malaysian parents on inborn errors of metabolism (IEM) diseases is still low even though the disease could cause mental, physical disability or even death.
The Kuala Lumpur Hospital Pediatric Institute of Genetics and Metabolism expert Dr Ngu Lock Hock said it was difficult to group and identify the symptoms of IEM diseases as they comprised 500 types of different diseases.
He said currently there were about 500 IEM patients throughout the country receiving treatment at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, even though the actual number was expected to be more than the figure mentioned.
He said the disease was a group of hereditary disease caused by genetic disorders which affect the production of enzymes in the human body.
"The disease affect babies as young as a week old to adults at various age, depending on the factor of enzymatic reactions of an individual's body," he told reporters after attending an open forum of the Malaysia Metabolic Association here today.
Ngu said babies contracting IEM usually have poor appetite, looked tired soon after birth with flaccid body or suffered from frequent bouts of fits.