G6PD (Glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase) is a Red Blood Cells protective enzyme. It helps the red blood cells function properly in the presence of foreign substances that hinder its synthesis, such as medication or allergens or infections. The deficiency could be genetically inherited condition on the X-chromosome of the affected patient. This genetic condition could be passed mainly to male and slightly passed to females who become carriers.

The body of some patient either:

  • does not manufacture (synthesize) this enzyme at all or
  • their bodies don’t manufacture enough of the enzyme

The function of G6PD is to help the body to metabolize carbohydrates and turn them into energy. Anemia is the major symptom caused by the lack or deficiency of this enzyme of the red blood cells. Lacking the protection of this enzyme, the red blood cells’ walls break down and lead to a condition called hemolytic anemia. It is very serious condition and could be devastating.

Causes of of G6PD deficiency

The main cause of the deficiency is either:

  • the toxins of  bacterial and viral infections
  • medication used as painkillers and anti-pyretic medication (anti-fever)
  • Sulfa containing antibiotics
  • Quine containing medication (antimalarial medication)
  • some food allergens
  • specific food (fava beans)
  • preservatives found in mothballs (naphthalene)
  • preservatives found in moth crystals

Symptoms of G6PD Deficiency

In normal circumstances, G6PD is an asymptomatic condition to people until  a trigger is introduced into the body.

Once triggered, the person may exhibit symptoms that coincide with hemolytic anemia. The major symptoms are:

  • unexplained fatigue and tiredness
  • tachycardia (fast heart beats)
  • shortness of breath
  • faster rate of breathing
  • pale yellowish facial and skin complexion (lack of facial redness)
  • jaundice
  • yellowing of the skin and eyes, particularly in newborns
  • palpation or ultrasound of the spleen reveals enlargement
  • darker brownish urine
  • infected new born show yellow sclera and yellow skin

G6PD Patients (Carriers and Infected)

  • G6PD deficiency in some patients is passed through genes on the chromosomes X from one or both parents to a child,
  • G6PD deficiency common among African-American males,
  • Some females of African-American origins are carriers of G6PD gene, However only a few females are affected by G6PD genes,
  • Italians, Greeks, Arabs, and Sephardic Jews males have higher chances of being affected

Diagnosing  G6PD Deficiency

G6PD is easily diagnosed by taking a blood sample. This step is necessary before the following

  • undertaking new medications
  • in the case allergies are suspected or
  • foreign substances were introduced in the body
  • anemia and physical symptoms
  • family history of favisim, anemia or hives

Treating G6PD Deficiency

In light cases the treatment of G6PD is to remove the culprit completely (drugs, food, illness)

In severe cases the child must be hospitalized immediately no questions asked and no ifs and buts, this is very serious.