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G6PD deficiency is the lack of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). G6PD is an enzyme found in red blood cells. A lack of it can cause hemolytic anemia. This is when the red blood cells are destroyed faster than they are made.
G6PD deficiency is inherited. It occurs most often in males.
Females who carry one copy of the gene can pass G6PD deficiency to their children.
The condition is rare in females.
G6PD deficiency is seen in about 10% of African-American males in the U.S. It is also common in people from the Mediterranean area, Africa, or Asia.
The severity of G6PD deficiency differs among these people. In African-American people, the problem is mild and mainly affects older red blood cells.
In whites, G6PD deficiency tends to be more serious. In this group, young red blood cells are affected.
G6PD can cause hemolytic anemia. These are the most common symptoms of hemolytic anemia:
The symptoms of hemolytic anemia may look like other medical problems. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Your health care provider can diagnose G6PD deficiency with a simple blood test. You may need this test:
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 damage your blood cells. Depending on your gene flaw, you may be able to handle a small amount of these exposures.
Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
Treatment may include:
If you have G6PD deficiency, you will need to avoid:
These can trigger hemolytic anemia.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
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