September 14-20, 2014 is
National Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week.
Perhaps you have heard of it....or perhaps you are wondering what it's all about?
The mitochondria are the "power houses" of the cell. They are in every living cell in our
bodies. Through a complicated process, they are responsible for taking the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe in, and changing it into energy that our bodies use to live. They are like little battery packs all throughout our bodies.
Unfortunately, for some people, these little battery packs fail them, and their organs and muscles don't function properly because of it. Often, problems with mitochondrial failure is due to a genetically inherited dna mutation that causes them to not function properly, or not replicate themselves entirely.
Here is a little video that explains simply how energy is made and the job of the mitochondria:
When the mitochondria are impaired, the person can be mildly to severely ill, depending on which organs are most affected, and what type of problem is causing the mitochondrial dysfunction.
When cells fail on certain levels, the organs start to lose their ability to function properly. Each person with mitochondrial disease can be affected a little differently. It is estimated that 1 in 4,000 people suffers from a mitochondrial disease.
Imagine trying to run your whole household off of one battery. That is what it is like to live with mitochondrial disease. There is just not enough energy to go around to power everything. The person can look healthy and typical, but even the smallest energy drain (from exertion or illness) can send them into a rapid decline and make them desperately ill very quickly.
Please help spread the word about this powerful disease. Little is known about it, and what is known is very misunderstood by most. Yet those who live with it know the truth of the daily struggle that it brings.