Phenylketonuria: Prevention & Insurance Coverage

Phenylketonuria, or PKU, requires ongoing medical care. Will your health insurance pay for Phenylketonuria? What about PKU prevention and causes? Here are the details you need.

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Phenylketonuria: Prevention & Insurance Coverage

Those who have Phenylketonuria, which is more commonly known as PKU, have a rare condition that happens when phenylalanine, a type of amino acid, breaks is not properly broken down in the body. This condition is often hereditary, and can create long term implications to health and wellbeing. However, there is treatment available. If you have PKU, it is important to keep your health insurance up to date to ensure you always have coverage for your needs. Here is more insight into Phenylketonuria, from a health insurance viewpoint.

What Causes Phenylketonuria?

The most common cause of PKU is a defect gene. This causes PKU to be present. However, it can range from very mild forms to very intense and life-threatening forms. When a person has this gene, they are likely to have a lack of an enzyme that is necessary for the body to produce phenylalanine. The complications from this condition occur when a person with this condition eats foods that have a high level of protein in them. This can include everything from meat and cheese to pastas, nuts, and whole grains. This can cause damage to the nerve cells found in the brain.

Phenylketonuria Risk Groups

There are two key factors that can make it more likely that you have Phenylketonuria. A child is at risk of having PKU if both parents have the same defective gene that causes this condition. It can also be more likely to occur in some people of a specific heritage. That includes some groups of African Americans.

Symptoms of Phenylketonuria

Most people who have Phenylketonuria do not have symptoms at first, but they become more evident as time goes on. Phenylketonuria symptoms may range from mild to severe and may include skin rashes, a musty odor to their breath, and hyperactivity. Some will develop neurological problems that cause seizures. In addition to this, it is common for those with more severe Phenylketonuria to suffer from delayed development, intellectual disability, psychiatric disorders, and behavioral problems. The symptoms of PKU will range widely depending on the severity of the condition and how well the person’s diet is managed to reduce protein intake.

Prevention of Phenylketonuria

The Mayo Clinic offers some insight into prevention for PKU. It is not possible to prevent Phenylketonuria from occurring, but it may be possible to reduce the onset of symptoms and complications by following a low-phenylalanine diet. This type of diet is necessary from pregnancy. It is also possible to consider genetic counseling that may help men and women make key decisions about pregnancy if PKU is a possibility.

Health Insurance Coverage for Phenylketonuria

Many men and women suffer from conditions like Phenylketonuria which require ongoing medical care and were unpreventable. That is why it is so important to maintain health insurance all of the time. If you have PKU symptoms or your child develops it, it is very important that you maintain access to health insurance long term, which includes maintaining coverage for doctors including specialists, as well as medications that can be helpful in treating this condition. People with PKU need routine checkups and may need more advanced care from time to time.


For those who have Phenylketonuria and need to purchase health insurance, be sure to let the company know about your condition when selecting your policy. This helps to ensure you always get the type of coverage you need. If you have an unstable form or a more serious condition, you may also want to choose health insurance that includes medical doctors, specialists, and medical treatments that are more advanced. You may need to choose a plan that covers your preferred hospitals as well. All of these details can be essential when it comes to managing PKU.


Health insurance coverage for PKU may not always include more advanced care or some types of treatment. If you need this type of care, be sure your policy offers it or consider choosing another option.


For those with Phenylketonuria symptoms, the condition is likely to require ongoing medical care. That is why it is so important for you to maintain proper health insurance coverage to ensure you always have access to the care you need.


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