What is Favism?
Favism, full name of which is Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (referred to as G6PD) Deficiency, is a common recessively inherited condition in Hong Kong. The majority of patients are males.
G6PD is an enzyme that protects red blood cells and prevents them from being damaged. In normal circumstances, patients with G6PD Deficiency do not have any symptoms. However, due to the congenital lack of G6PD in the patient's red blood cells, stimulation by foreign oxides, such as the intake of fava beans or certain medicines, will possibly cause damage and breakdown of red blood cells in a short time, as well as producing bilirubin and overloading the liver.
If a newborn baby with G6PD Deficiency is severely stimulated by incoming oxides, it can result in severe jaundice. If left untreated, the amount of bilirubin may become excessive and accumulate in the brain of the newborn baby, causing permanent damage including hearing loss, mental retardation, muscle spasm, or even death. However, common G6PD patients are no different from ordinary people, the situation of acute haemolysis can be prevented by avoiding exposure to certain triggers always, and there is no need to worry too much.