How Might Mitochondrial Disease Affect My Lifespan?

How Might Mitochondrial Disease Affect My Lifespan?
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Being diagnosed with a genetic condition like mitochondrial disease can be challenging and frightening, and you may be wondering whether your disease will affect your lifespan.

Does mitochondrial disease affect lifespan?

The effect mitochondrial disease will have on a patient’s lifespan is difficult to predict. There are many types of mitochondrial disease with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Some patients’ symptoms worsen over time, some have severe symptoms most of the time, and some patients have “flare-ups” or times when their symptoms are worse. Some patients have a nearly normal lifespan, and others have a reduced lifespan.

What factors can alter lifespan?

Because mitochondrial disease is rare, few systematic studies have been done on the average lifespan of patients. As treatments and early diagnostic methods improve, the average lifespan is likely to increase.

A small study in children with mitochondrial disease examined the patient records of 221 children with mitochondrial disease. Of these, 14% died three to nine years after diagnosis. Five patients lived less than three years, and three patients lived longer than nine years. For the children who died before reaching their 15th birthday, the cause of death was primarily sepsis and pneumonia but these were not the primary causes of death in adult patients. The researchers indicated that boosting the immune system of children with mitochondrial disease may be key to increasing their lifespan.

A similar small study of 30 adult patients with mitochondrial disease demonstrated that the main cause of death was respiratory failure, heart failure, and cerebral incidents such as seizures or strokes. However, in nearly half of the patients, the cause of death was unknown.

 

Last updated: April 28, 2020

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Mitochondrial Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
Total Posts: 12
Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication, and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.
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