As Maryland residents may be aware, a physician's diagnosis of a physical ailment may lead to more prompt and appropriate treatment and a better result when detected early. Some medical problems are caused as a result of a defect in the patient's DNA and may be harder to detect without the use of special testing. One involves the disease, mitochondrial myopathy, which is caused by a mutation in the individual's DNA. The mitochondria is an important part of DNA, since this is where energy is stored by the body.
One common mitochondrial diseases, MELAS, is neurodegenerative and progressive, affecting the musculature and nervous system. It may result in headaches, muscle pain and weakness and intolerance to exercise, among other symptoms. Patients who are severely affected may experience episodes that appear similar to strokes, and these episodes may begin before age 40.