Disease at a Glance

Summary
Zellweger spectrum disorder (ZSD) is a phenotypic continuum ranging from severe to mild. While individual phenotypes (e.g., Zellweger syndrome [ZS], neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy [NALD], and infantile Refsum disease [IRD]) were described in the past before the biochemical and molecular bases of this spectrum were fully determined, the term \"ZSD\" is now used to refer to all individuals with a PEX gene defect regardless of phenotype. Individuals with ZSD usually come to clinical attention in the newborn period or later in childhood. Affected newborns are hypotonic and feed poorly. They have distinctive facies, congenital malformations (neuronal migration defects associated with neonatal-onset seizures, renal cysts, and bony stippling [chondrodysplasia punctata] of the patella[e] and other long bones), and liver disease that can be severe. Infants with severe ZSD are significantly impaired and typically die during the first year of life, usually having made no developmental progress. Individuals with intermediate/milder ZSD do not have congenital malformations, but rather progressive peroxisome dysfunction variably manifest as sensory loss (secondary to retinal dystrophy and sensorineural hearing loss); neurologic involvement (ataxia, polyneuropathy, and leukodystrophy); liver dysfunction; adrenal insufficiency; and renal oxalate stones. While hypotonia and developmental delays are typical, intellect can be normal. Some have osteopenia; almost all have ameleogenesis imperfecta in the secondary teeth.
Estimated Number of People with this Disease

This section is currently in development.

What Information Does GARD Have For This Disease?

Many rare diseases have limited information. Currently GARD is able to provide the following information for this disease:

*Data may be currently unavailable to GARD at this time.
Categories
When do symptoms of this disease begin?
This section is currently in development. 

Symptoms

This section is currently in development. We recommend speaking with a doctor to learn more about this disease. 

Causes

This section is currently in development. 

Next Steps

Talking with the Medical Team

Good communication between the patient, family, and medical team can lead to an accurate diagnosis. In addition, health care decisions can be made together which improves the patient’s well-being and quality of life.

Describing Symptoms

Describe details about the symptoms. Because there may be many different causes for a single symptom, it is best not to make a conclusion about the diagnosis. The detailed descriptions help the medical provider determine the correct diagnosis.

To help describe a symptom:

  • Use a smartphone or a notebook to record each symptom before the appointment
  • Describe each symptom by answering the following questions:
    • When did the symptom start?
    • How often does it happen?
    • Does anything make it better or worse?
  • Tell the medical team whether any symptoms affect daily activities

Preparing for the First Visit

Working with a medical team to find a diagnosis can be a long process that will require more than one appointment. Make better health decisions by being prepared for the first visit with each member of the medical team.

    Make informed decisions about health care: 
    • Prepare a list of questions and concerns before the appointment
    • List the most important questions first, not all questions may be answered in the first visit
    • Ask questions about symptoms, possible diagnoses, tests, and treatment options
    For future appointments:
    • Discuss what was not addressed at the last visit
    • Discuss changes in the quality of life for the patient, family, and caregivers
    • Discuss health goals and other issues in the patient’s and family’s life that may affect the health care decisions
    Take notes during the appointments to help remember what was discussed.

    Last Updated: Nov. 8, 2021