G6PD Deficiency Without Symptoms: Should You Worry

Most children with G6PD deficiency don’t show symptoms until exposed to certain medications or food triggers such as Soy products, fava beans, and legumes. As long as triggers are avoided, children with G6PD deficiency can live normal and healthy lives. However, symptoms can be different for each person. When exposed to specific triggers, some may show mild symptoms to none at all. For others, the effects are more serious. 

Click HERE to download a printable infographic of G6PD Deficiency triggers.

What causes these differences? Researchers say our genes play a vital role in how a child is at risk.

G6PD deficiency is genetic

G6PD deficiency is a hereditary genetic condition. This means that one or both parents can pass this condition to their child. It all starts with a defective X chromosome gene (one of the two sex chromosomes).

  • Boys who get the defective X chromosome gene will have G6PD deficiency 
  • Girls with only one affected X chromosome gene become carriers and have no symptoms at all
  • Girls who have two affected X chromosome genes often have symptoms

What causes G6PD deficiency symptoms?

Children with this condition lack the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). This enzyme protects the red blood cells from early destruction. The lack of it makes RBCs vulnerable to breakdown and may lead to anemia.

Symptoms of anemia include the following: 

  • Pale skin
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Fast heartbeat and breathing or shortness of breath
  • Yellow skin and eyes/Jaundice
  • Dark urine

 

Click HERE to download a printable infographic of G6PD signs and symptoms.

Generally, all G6PD deficient children have the same risk of developing anemia when exposed to certain triggers. So whether they have symptoms or not, it is best not to change your outlook in handling their condition. It’s important to continue managing your child’s G6PD deficiency.

For related articles on G6PD Deficiency, please check the following:

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information included in this material is for informational purposes only. Always seek medical advice for any concerns about health and nutrition.


References:

  1. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency. NORD resource page. Available at: rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase-deficiency/. Accessed 15 June 2021.  
  2. Yates A. An Overview of G6PD Deficiency. Verywell Health resource page. Available at: www.verywellhealth.com/g6pd-deficiency-401301. Accessed 15 June 2021.   
  3. Nagalla S. Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency Treatment & Management. Medscape resource page. Available at: emedicine.medscape.com/article/200390-treatment. Accessed 14 June 2021.
  4. Herndon J. G6PD Deficiency. Healthline resource page. Available at: www.healthline.com/health/glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase-deficiency. Accessed 16 June 2021.  
  5. Ben-Joseph E. G6PD Deficiency. KidsHealth from Nemours resource page. Available at: kidshealth.org/en/parents/g6pd.html 16 June 2021.   
  6. John Hopkins Medicine. G6PD (Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase) Deficiency. John Hopkins Medicine resource page. Available at: www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/g6pd-glucose6phosphate-dehydrogenase-deficiency. Accessed 16 June 2021.