G6PD Deficiency - Experience

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What is glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency?

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency is a genetic disorder that occurs most often in males. This condition mainly affects red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. In affected individuals, a defect in an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase causes red blood cells to break down prematurely. This destruction of red blood cells is called hemolysis.

The most common medical problem associated with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency is hemolytic anemia, which occurs when red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them. This type of anemia leads to paleness, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), dark urine, fatigue, shortness of breath, and a rapid heart rate. In people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, hemolytic anemia is most often triggered by bacterial or viral infections or by certain drugs (such as some antibiotics and medications used to treat malaria). Hemolytic anemia can also occur after eating fava beans or inhaling pollen from fava plants (a reaction called favism).

Glucose-6-dehydrogenase deficiency is also a significant cause of mild to severe jaundice in newborns. Many people with this disorder, however, never experience any signs or symptoms.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: richjams, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 30

I'm a black male 54 years old and I found out that I had G6PD when I was in the Air Force. I've had no known health issues with this, played sports all my life, been healthy all my life, never have been the type to take a lot of medicine. I found out at the age of 17, so my opinion is don't be so critical of G6PD, it's something that you can live a long time with.

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Comment from: Nneka, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 17

I only just received the test result that indicates that my 8 year old son is G6PD deficient. Most of the hospitals we've been going to kept saying he was anemic or probably has sickle cell disease. His doctor gave us a list of medications he should stay away from; anything with sulfur or quinine. Thank goodness he is making much progress with blood supplements and plenty of good wishes.

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