18 May 2009

G6PD deficiency

SIL#2 newborn baby has been diagnosed to be G6PD deficiency.

So what is this G6PD deficiency? It is generally a hereditary abnormality in the activity of the red blood cell enzyme. The deficiency in G6PD enzyme may provoke sudden destruction of red blood cells and lead to hemolytic anemia with jaundice, following the intake of certain foodstuffs and drugs.

G6PD is normally transmitted from mother (usually a healthy carrier) to son (or daughter, who would be a healthy carrier too). See the chart below that I extracted from internet.

The deficit in G6PD is quite prevalent in Southeast Asia and in Malaysia, it is a routine screening for newborn. In fact, the deficiency is quite common in Malaysia and Singapore and estimated to affect 5% of the population.

The symptoms of G6PD are:-

  • Sudden rise of body temperature and yellow coloring of skin and mucous membrane
  • Dark yellow-orange urine
  • Pallor, fatigue
  • Heavy and fast breathing
  • Weak, rapid pulse or irregular heart beat

Even with G6PD deficiency, one could still lead a perfectly normal life, provided certain drugs and foodstuffs are avoided. In the top of the list is fava bean or broad bean (or in Chinese, it is known as Tzan Doo). It is also important to avoid certain legumes and Chinese herbs. Anyone with G6PD should also avoid in contact with mothball. There is also a list of drugs to be avoided and can be found here.

For parents with G6PD child, extra care should be taken in the child's diets and ensure that all caretaker, pediatrician and school teacher are well informed of the condition. You may also wish to have a To Avoid List of foodstuffs and drugs with you at all times.

With the right precautions, a child with G6PD deficiency can lead a healthy and active life.

I wish BIL/SIL's baby will have a healthy life ahead!


rsc said...

You can read more about G6PD deficiency here:

Blog's author said...

rsc: Thanks for the link! Will check it out.

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