G6PD deficiency is an inherited condition. It is when the body doesn’t have enough of an enzyme called G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase). This enzyme helps red blood cells work properly. A lack of this enzyme can cause hemolytic anemia. This is when the red blood cells break down faster than they are made.
G6PD deficiency is inherited. This means it is passed down from parents through their genes.
Women who carry one copy of the gene can pass G6PD deficiency to their children.
G6PD deficiency occurs most often in men. It is rare in women.
The disorder affects about 10% of African-American men in the U.S. It is also common in people from the Mediterranean area, Africa, or Asia.
The severity of the disorder varies, depending on the group. In African-Americans, the problem is mild. It mainly affects older red blood cells. In whites, the disorder is often more serious. In this group, young red blood cells are affected.
G6PD can cause hemolytic anemia. This is when the red blood cells break down faster than they are made. Symptoms of hemolytic anemia include:
The symptoms of hemolytic anemia may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider can diagnose G6PD deficiency with a simple blood test. You may need this test if:
Your provider may repeat tests to make an accurate diagnosis.
In most cases, G6PD deficiency does not cause problems. Problems may occur if you are exposed to medicines or foods that may harm your blood cells. Depending on your gene flaw, you may be able to handle a small amount of these exposures.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
Treatment may include:
If you have this condition, you will need to avoid things that can trigger hemolytic anemia. These include:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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