G6PD deficiency test. Why do I need a G6PD test?

A glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PHD) test

G6PD deficiency test measures the amount of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme activity in red blood cells.

G6PD deficiency test is commonly performed by doctors to help determine whether a patient has a hereditary form of anemia called G6PD deficiency. People with G6PD deficiency have lower levels of the enzyme G6PD in their red blood cells. If a doctor suspects a patient has G6PD deficiency, he or she will order a G6PHD test.

What is G6PD deficiency test?

A G6PD test is a simple blood test used to measure the amount of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) in the blood.

G6PD is an enzyme found in red blood cells that helps them function normally, and help protects them from damage. If a person has low levels of G6PD, it can indicate an inherited disorder called G6PD deficiency. This disorder can cause red blood cells (RBCs) to break down prematurely and lead to anemia, fatigue, jaundice, fever, and other symptoms. so testing for it can help diagnose and treat these problems.

The test is done by drawing a small sample of blood from a vein in your arm or hand with a needle. The sample is then analyzed to measure the levels of G6PD in your bloodstream.

Other diagnostic tests may also be done if needed, such as quantitative spectrophotometric analysis or rapid fluorescent evaluation, to evaluate G6PD deficiency more accurately.

The test is used for screening or diagnosing gpd deficiency, especially in newborns or people with a family history of the disorder. It’s also used for monitoring people who are already known to have the condition.

If you are diagnosed with G6PD deficiency, treatment options may include dietary changes, medication, or other therapies depending on your individual situation.

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G6PD deficiency Triggers

G6PD deficiency test
G6PD deficiency test

Most people with glucose phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency are asymptomatic until they are exposed to certain “triggers” that cause red blood cell destruction. Among the triggers are:

  • Fava beans, also known as broad beans
  • Infection caused by viruses
  • Infection caused by bacteria
  • Some antibiotics
  • Malaria medications
  • Other medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Why do I need a G6PD deficiency test?

A G6PD deficiency test measures the amount of G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) enzyme in your blood and can help diagnose G6PD deficiency.

If your healthcare provider suspects you may have G6PD deficiency, they may recommend a G6PD test. This test is especially important for those at risk of having the condition, such as people of African or Mediterranean descent. Symptoms of G6PD deficiency include:

  • Jaundice
  • dark to yellow colored urine
  • pale skin
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath

If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications such as organ damage and reduced life expectancy. A G6PD test can help diagnose the condition early so treatment can be started quickly.

What are the Benefits of Testing for G6PD Deficiency?

Testing for G6PD deficiency has many benefits, including:

  • The ability to accurately diagnose the condition and provide personalized care and management.
  • Diagnosing G6PD deficiency allows doctors to make informed decisions about the best treatment plan for their patients.
  • Helps identify those at risk of developing severe adverse reactions when exposed to certain drugs or chemicals.
  • Reduce complications such as anemia and organ damage, as well as provide access to life-saving medications in malaria-endemic regions.

Who Should Get G6PD deficiency test?

It is important to identify individuals with G6PD deficiency because it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
Certain groups of people should consider getting tested for G6PD deficiency. These include :

  • People who have symptoms of anemia
  • Those who have had a reaction to certain medications or foods that are known to trigger anemia in people with G6PD deficiency.
  • Those from certain ethnic backgrounds such as African American and Mediterranean populations are more likely to carry the mutation that causes G6PD deficiency.
  • Pregnant women should get tested for G6PD deficiency as it can affect neonates.

How to Prepare for a G6PD Test

Preparing for a G6PD test is important to ensure accurate results. Before your test, you should tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you are taking. Some medications can interfere with the results of this test. Additionally, you should avoid eating or drinking anything for 8-10 hours before the test and avoid exercise for 24 hours before the test to get the most accurate results.

Risks Associated With G6PD Test

Having a blood test poses very little risk. You may experience minor pain or bruising where the needle was inserted, but most symptoms will subside quickly.

When the heel is poked, your baby may feel a slight pinch and a small bruise may form. This should pass quickly.

What Does the Result Mean?

A normal test result means that you have enough G6PD enzyme and do not have G6PD deficiency. A normal measurement is 5.5 to 10% of normal.

If your results show lower than normal amounts of G6PD, it means you have a G6PD deficiency. Your doctor can diagnose this condition by performing a simple blood test to check G6PD enzyme levels. Other diagnostic tests may also be done, such as genetic testing and analysis of family history, to determine if the condition is inherited or acquired.

It’s important to note that having a G6DP deficiency does not necessarily mean that you will experience medical problems—in some cases, people with a mild deficiency may never experience any symptoms at all. However, it’s important to discuss any potential risks with your doctor so you can be monitored for any potential complications.

Women with slightly lower-than-normal G6PD levels may be “carriers” of a G6PD deficiency. Which means they have one normal G6PD gene and one defective G6PD gene. These women rarely develop symptoms because their normal G6PD alleles produce an adequate number of healthy red blood cells.
However, they run the risk of moving on the abnormal gene to their kids. Male children tend more than female children to develop G6PD symptoms.

Related tests

  • CareStart G6PD deficiency.
  • FST (fluorescent spot test).
  • Qualitative G6PD.
  • Bilirubin Blood Test.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC).
  • Hemoglobin Test.

Finally, another alternative to the standard G6PD deficiency test is a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and red blood cell count test which measures how much of this enzyme is present in red blood cells. This type of test costs approximately $179 USD and offers accurate results when diagnosing or managing.

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