Living with Phenylketonuria: lessons from the PKU community

Article


Ford, S., O'Driscoll, M. and McDonald, A. 2018. Living with Phenylketonuria: lessons from the PKU community. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports. 17, pp. 57-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgmr.2018.10.002
TypeArticle
TitleLiving with Phenylketonuria: lessons from the PKU community
AuthorsFord, S., O'Driscoll, M. and McDonald, A.
Abstract

Introduction: We report the practical, social and psychological issues of living with phenylketonuria (PKU) from one of the largest surveys that has been completed by both adults with PKU and parents/caregivers of children.
Methods: In the UK, parents/caregivers of children and adults with PKU were invited to complete an online survey between November 2017 to January 2018 by the NSPKU (National Society for Phenylketonuria).
Results: 631 participants (adults, n=338; parents/caregivers of children, n=293) with PKU completed the questionnaire. Problems experienced by children with PKU were: difficulty with maintaining focus (48%,n=114/236), educational difficulties (28%, n=67/236), anxiety or depression (29%, n=68/236), and gastrointestinal symptoms (34%, n=97/282). Fifty one per cent (n=120/236) described social exclusion; 17% (n=41/236) had relationship issues with friends or family. Problems experienced by adults were: depression or anxiety (52%, n=148/286), difficulty maintaining focus (54%, n=154/286), and low mood (54%, n=180/334). Difficulties were experienced with relationships (34%, n=96/286); social exclusion (44%, n=126/286); and gastrointestinal issues (n=34%, n=112/334). Common medications used included antidepressants (40%, n=131/331) and anxiolytics (18%, n=60/334).
Discussions: Adults with PKU or caregivers/parents of children identified significant neurocognitive, mental health and general health issues. Limits on socialisation, perception of social isolation and dietary stigma are major obstacles which are difficult to overcome with conventional dietary management.

KeywordsPhenylketonuria; Phenylalanine; Diet; Survey ; Questionnaire; Thematic analysis
PublisherElsevier
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports
ISSN2214-4269
Publication dates
Online18 Oct 2018
Print01 Dec 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Oct 2018
Accepted10 Oct 2018
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgmr.2018.10.002
Web of Science identifierWOS:000450411200017
LanguageEnglish
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