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: Two sons, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 06

With G6PD deficiency I have problems with my breathing, I have gained weight, and my doctor keeps telling me to lose weight. But I'm short of breath if I walk the treadmill with an incline or add a little more speed. I can't walk too fast because of shortness of breath as well.

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Comment from: Ana, 3-6 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 11

I am a mother of a 3 years old boy, a G6PD patient. I'm worried too much because my son's condition is not good, he always vomits when he eats the food. He has a stomach ache and paleness of skin. The doctors have given him so many medicines and vitamins already but still his situation is the same. He has wet lungs too so until now he is under medication.

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