Mitochondrial disease result from failures of the mitochondria, which are specialized compartments present in every cell of the body except red blood cells. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. As this process is repeated throughout the body whole organ systems begin to fail, causing debilitating physical, developmental and cognitive disabilities. Mitochondrial disease primarily affects children, but adult onset has become more common. It is a progressive disease and has no cure.
For more information, visit the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation website.