At a rate of half a cup a minute, the kidneys filter unwanted waste from the blood to the bladder with the help of millions of microscopic nephrons. Each nephron has a glomerulus and a tubule; the former collects and filters the blood, while the latter separates the waste bound for the bladder from the nutrients it needs to reabsorb. In people with Fanconi syndrome or FS, a defect in the proximal tubules causes poor reabsorption of nutrients and results in lifelong health issues.
The type of Fanconi syndrome with which a person is diagnosed depends on which nutrients their body cannot reabsorb. For example, galactosemia, the inability of the body to process the sugar galactose, is one manifestation of FS. It can be treated by not giving an affected child milk — lactose breaks down to galactose. Children with this condition will also need to avoid other lactose- and galactose-containing foods. Fructose intolerance and glycogen storage disease may lead to metabolic illnesses, as well.
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