What is mitochondrial disease as Oliver is diagnosed in Coronation Street?

There are tough scenes ahead in Coronation Street this week as it’s revealed that Oliver’s condition is much worse than first thought and the young boy may have mitochondrial disease.

Oliver is taken for a brain scan in Corrie in next week’s episodes and after the doctor runs some blood tests Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) and Leanne Tilsley (Jane Danson) find out that their son might have mitochondrial disease and are broken by the news.

But what is mitochondrial disease and how is it treated?  

What is mitochondrial disease?

Mitochondrial diseases are a group of disorders that are caused by genetic mutations where someone’s mitochondria in their cells do not produce enough energy.

The symptoms and severity of Mitochondrial Disease vary hugely depending on the patient but at present, there is no cure for the disease. 

Parts of the body that tent to be affected by mitochondrial disease are those that commonly have the highest energy demands, such as muscles, the liver, heart, kidney and the brain.

While there is no cure for mitochondrial disease, doctors can treat symptoms of the disease, such as prescribing medication to help with seizures such as the ones that Oliver has been depicted as suffering in Coronation Street. 

Symptoms vary depending on the organ(s) affected but may include seizures, atypical cerebral palsy, autistic features, developmental problems, fainting and temperature instability.

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One in 4,000 people are estimated to have a genetically confirmed primary mitochondrial disease, yet many remain undiagnosed and the illness can affect babies, children and adults. 

To make a donation to a charity working towards the fight against Mitochondrial disease, check out The Lily Foundation.  

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