Metabolic Disorder Treatment in Northern New Jersey

Female doctor reassuring female patient in examination roomPatients who have been diagnosed with a metabolic disorder can find effective treatment. Bergen Medical Associates has multiple locations in northern New Jersey, where the team of endocrinology and metabolism specialists can help those who have been diagnosed with a metabolic disorder.

What Is a Metabolic Disorder?

Metabolism describes the biochemical processes that allow people to grow, reproduce, repair damage, and respond to their environment. It is the process our body uses to get energy from the food we eat. The chemicals in the body break down the food particles into sugars and acids, which the body uses as fuel.

A metabolic disorder happens when abnormal chemical reactions disrupt the body’s metabolism. This can affect how well the body breaks down large molecules for energy and how efficiently cells produce energy.

Are There Different Types of Metabolic Disorders?

Because the metabolism is complex, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences lists more than 500 metabolic disorders. Below are some of the most common types:


Diabetes is a condition that prevents the body from regulating blood glucose levels properly. There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in the pancreas and limits insulin production. People with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin medication to regulate their blood glucose levels.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Patients who have type 2 diabetes cannot use insulin properly. It can develop at any age and often a person’s diet is the cause.
  • Gestational diabetes: During pregnancy, some women may deal with gestational diabetes that usually goes away after they give birth. Gestational diabetes does, however, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.

Gaucher’s Disease

A rare genetic disorder, Gaucher’s disease is the result of a genetic mutation that limits the production of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase. When the body does not have enough of this enzyme, it can cause an accumulation of lipids, or fatty substances, in the spleen or liver. Many patients with Gaucher’s disease suffer from tiredness and bruise easily.


This condition affects the way a body absorbs iron. It can result from the mutation of a gene, excessive iron in a person’s diet, or blood transfusions. Hemochromatosis causes iron buildups that can lead to symptoms like:

  • Darkening of the skin
  • Joint pain
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Stomach pain
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness


Phenylketonuria, or PKU, is when someone is born without the ability to produce the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase. It is an enzyme important for processing amino acids. Amino acids are used to build proteins for the body’s growth and development. People without this enzyme cannot break down amino acids on their own. In some cases, this can cause brain damage.

Mitochondrial Disorders

When mitochondria cannot produce enough energy for cells to function properly, a person might experience a mitochondrial disorder. A mitochondrial disorder usually results from a genetic mutation passed down through families.

This is not a conclusive list of metabolic disorders, but the Bergen Medical Associates’ endocrinology and metabolism team can assist in properly diagnosing patients.

What Are Common Symptoms of Metabolic Disorders?

Metabolic disorders are diverse and can affect many aspects of how a person’s body functions. Common symptoms include:

  • Changes in skin color
  • Developmental problems in babies and infants
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Tiredness
  • Unexpected weight gain or loss

How Are Metabolic Disorders Diagnosed?

Because a metabolic disorder can have a wide range of impacts on a person’s body, a doctor may use several different tests to determine whether a patient has a metabolic disorder. Most often, a doctor will use a blood test to check for abnormal levels of enzymes. A doctor will also ask a patient about their family medical history, as some metabolic disorders are passed down through genetics.

What Are the Risk Factors for Metabolic Disorders?

Since metabolic disorders vary so much, it is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of a metabolic disorder. However, here are some of the factors that can increase a person’s chance of having a metabolic disorder:

  • Age: The risk of metabolic syndrome increases as people age.
  • Ethnicity: In the United States, Hispanics, especially Hispanic women, appear to be at the greatest risk of developing metabolic disorders. Research has not yet determined the reason.
  • Obesity: Carrying too much weight, especially in the abdomen, increases a person’s risk of a metabolic disorder.
  • History of Diabetes: A person is more likely to have a metabolic disorder if they have had diabetes during pregnancy, also known as gestational diabetes, or if they have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other diseases: A person’s risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if they ever have had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, or sleep apnea.

How Are Metabolic Disorders Treated?

Many metabolic disorders have no cure yet, meaning a person could require lifelong medication use or lifestyle changes to manage their symptoms. For instance, those with type 1 diabetes need insulin daily to regulate their blood glucose levels, while a person with type 2 diabetes may need to change their lifestyle habits to regulate their glucose levels, like exercising more and modifying their diet.

How To Get Started With Bergen Medical Associates

Patients seeking treatment for a metabolic disorder can see the team of endocrinology and metabolism specialists at Bergen Medical Associates. The medical team works collaboratively with all the doctors involved in the patient’s care. All health records are electronic, making communication with other physicians easier. Our providers construct treatment plans based on complete information about the patient.

With office locations throughout northern New Jersey, Bergen Medical Associates provides patients with multiple medical specialties, including endocrinology. We have on-site comprehensive care, including diagnostic testing and ambulatory surgical centers when needed. Contact Bergen Medical Associates today to schedule an appointment.