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Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency

(glOO-kohs • 6-FAHS-fayt • dee-hie-DRAH-juh-nace • di-FISH-uhn-see)

General Condition Information

Other Names

  • G6PD deficiency

Condition Type

Birth Prevalence

Screening Finding

Decreased glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme activity or one G6PD deficiency-causing gene variant

What is glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is an inherited (genetic) condition that affects red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. In babies with G6PD deficiency, red blood cells break down too quickly.

G6PD is an enzyme that helps protect red blood cells from reactive oxygen species, which can be harmful when they build up. Reactive oxygen species are normal products of the body’s processes, but at high levels, they can cause damage to red blood cells.

Normally, red blood cells break down slowly enough for the body to continuously replace them. Babies with G6PD deficiency have red blood cells that break down faster than they can be replaced, so red blood cell levels are low. This means that babies with G6PD deficiency have a harder time bringing oxygen to the body, causing the signs and symptoms of the condition.

Newborn Screening and Follow-Up

Condition Details

Treatment and Management

It is important to talk to your health care provider about which treatment(s) are best for your baby. The goal of treatment is to prevent the health problems caused by this condition.

Treatments may include the following:

Children with symptoms who receive early health care and treatment for G6PD deficiency can have healthier lives than those who do not receive treatment.

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