Short Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency

Disease database

Short Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency (SCADD) is a rare genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to break down certain fats for energy. This condition can lead to a variety of symptoms, including hypoglycemia, lethargy, vomiting, seizures, muscle weakness, and metabolic acidosis. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for SCADD is crucial for individuals and families affected by this condition.

Hypoglycemia: When Blood Sugar Levels Drop

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common symptom of SCADD. This occurs when the body is unable to properly convert fats into glucose, which is the primary source of energy for the body. When blood sugar levels drop, individuals may experience symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, and irritability. It is important to monitor blood sugar levels regularly and seek medical attention if hypoglycemia occurs.

Lethargy: Feeling Tired and Sluggish

Lethargy is another common symptom of SCADD. Individuals with this condition may feel constantly tired and lack energy. This can make it difficult to perform daily activities and may impact overall quality of life. It is important to rest and conserve energy when experiencing lethargy, and to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on managing this symptom.

Vomiting: The Body’s Reaction to Toxins

Vomiting can occur in individuals with SCADD due to the buildup of toxic byproducts in the body. When the body is unable to properly break down fats, these byproducts can accumulate and cause nausea and vomiting. It is important to stay hydrated and seek medical attention if vomiting persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

Seizures: Abnormal Electrical Activity in the Brain

Seizures can be a serious complication of SCADD. When the brain does not receive enough energy due to the inability to break down fats, it can result in abnormal electrical activity and seizures. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if seizures occur, as they can be life-threatening. Medications may be prescribed to help manage and prevent seizures in individuals with SCADD.

Muscle Weakness: Difficulty with Physical Activity

Muscle weakness is a common symptom of SCADD. When the body is unable to properly convert fats into energy, it can lead to muscle weakness and difficulty with physical activity. This can impact mobility and overall strength. Physical therapy and regular exercise may be recommended to help improve muscle strength and function.

Metabolic Acidosis: Imbalance in the Body’s pH Levels

Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is an imbalance in the body’s pH levels. In individuals with SCADD, the buildup of toxic byproducts can lead to an increase in acidity. This can cause symptoms such as rapid breathing, confusion, and fatigue. It is important to seek medical attention if metabolic acidosis is suspected, as it can be a serious condition that requires treatment.

Treatment and Management of SCADD

While there is currently no cure for SCADD, there are steps that can be taken to manage the condition and minimize symptoms. It is important for individuals with SCADD to work closely with a healthcare team, including genetic specialists, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals.

Dietary Modifications

One of the key components of managing SCADD is making dietary modifications. This may include avoiding certain foods that are high in fats, as well as ensuring an adequate intake of carbohydrates and proteins. A dietitian can provide guidance on creating a balanced meal plan that meets the individual’s nutritional needs while minimizing the risk of symptoms.

Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels

Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is essential for individuals with SCADD. This can help identify episodes of hypoglycemia and allow for prompt intervention. Blood sugar monitoring devices are readily available and can be used at home to track levels on a regular basis.

Medication Management

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms and prevent complications. This may include medications to control seizures or to help regulate blood sugar levels. It is important to follow the prescribed medication regimen and communicate any concerns or side effects with a healthcare professional.

Regular Follow-Up Care

Regular follow-up care with a healthcare team is crucial for individuals with SCADD. This allows for ongoing monitoring of symptoms, adjustments to treatment plans as needed, and the opportunity to address any concerns or questions. It is important to attend all scheduled appointments and to communicate openly with the healthcare team.


Short Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency is a rare genetic disorder that can have a significant impact on individuals and families. Understanding the symptoms and treatment options for SCADD is essential for managing the condition and minimizing complications. By working closely with a healthcare team and making necessary lifestyle modifications, individuals with SCADD can lead fulfilling lives and effectively manage their symptoms.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
Add a comment