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Urea Cycle Disorders (UCDs)

UCD is a condition that affects how your body breaks down protein, from foods such as meat, eggs and dairy (like milk or cheese), or for example during high-intensity exercise, or when fasting. All the food you eat gets broken down in our digestive system, and the body gets to benefit from vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, protein and more. If you have a UCD, you may need to take steps to manage your ammonia levels and symptoms. Finding the right treatment plan can allow you to live your life to the fullest. 

Living with a urea cycle disorder (UCD) can be challenging, but there is a lot you can do to manage your UCD and feel better in your everyday life. UCD and You is dedicated to people like you, and parents who are taking care of children with a UCD. Find out the essential facts, like what triggers a rise in ammonia levels and how to prevent it, which diet is right for you and what lifestyle changes are necessary.

A Urea Cycle Disorder is a genetic disease – something you are born with. You inherit different genes from your mother and father and UCDs can be passed down in families when a parent passes a defective gene to the child. If you have a urea cycle disorder you are born without or with very little of one of the six enzymes that breakdown ammonia. There are six different types of UCDs, so called subtypes, one for each enzyme in the urea cycle. The name of your urea cycle subtype represents the enzyme that is affected.

Nicki, Brandon and living with a UCD

Brandon was diagnosed with a UCD when he was 8 hours old. Since then, life has presented many challenges for him and his family. But also, many happy moments.

Hear his mother tell the story of how they handle everyday challenges and what advice she would give other families affected by UCD.