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  • Iya Villania Brought Newborn Son Leon For A G6PD Confirmatory Test

    It's the most common disorder among babies who undergo newborn screening. What is G6PD deficiency and how can it be treated?
    by Rachel Perez .
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • Early diagnoses and treatment of disorders that may not display obvious symptoms is the reason why the Newborn Screening (NBS) test is mandatory for all newborns. 

    Yesterday, through an Instagram post, we learned that celebrity mom Iya Villania brought her newborn son Leon for a confirmatory test for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, a metabolic disorder. 

    "G6PD confirmatory test at the hospital today," read the caption for a photo of the little boy sleeping on her mom's chest on Alonzo Leon's account. It also had a frowning face emoji. 

    A confirmatory test is given to newborns who tested positive for G6PD on the NBS test. It was not indicated what hospital Iya and Leon went to, but typically these tests are done by the National Institutes of Health-Philippines (NIH). 

    During a newborn baby's NBS test, blood samples are taken from the baby via a prick on his heel, and a few drops of blood are placed on a special collection paper. This should be done within 24 hours after birth. In a confirmatory test, blood is extracted directly from the vein and ideally should be done within the first three months of life. 

    What other parents are reading

    Waiting for the results of the test can be worrisome, but however the results turn up, little Leon, who is turning two months old this October, can still continue to lead a happy, quality life. Of all the five genetic disorders the NBS test can detect at birth, G6PD deficiency is the most common. About one in 54 babies have it. 

    What is G6PD deficiency?

    G6PD is the name of the enzyme essential for the proper functioning of red blood cells. It protects the cells from the potentially harmful by-products of specific food, medication, and infection. Red blood cells are the blood component that's responsible for distributing oxygen to all parts of the body. Persons with G6PD deficiency have red blood cells that are more prone to being destroyed.

    Destruction of red blood cells can lead to anemia (paleness, dizziness, headache, etc.) through a process known as hemolysis, or when the body cannot create more red blood cells in time to replace those destroyed. It also puts a baby at risk for jaundice, fatigue, and increased heart rates, which can ultimately lead to more severe diseases and, in rare cases, even death. 

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    How can G6PD be treated? 

    There is no cure for G6PD deficiency, but it is an easily manageable disorder. It's a genetic condition, and for now there is no way to predict if a baby will be born with it. A child who is G6PD positive may not exhibit symptoms at all unless exposed to the triggers, but through NBS, it can be detected early. 

    Once confirmed, the parents/guardian of a child who tests positive for G6PD is given a list of food, drugs, and other things that the child should avoid. It helps them ensure that their child avoids triggers like soy, legumes, paracetamol, Vitamin C, and mothballs and menthol. 

    Parents are advised to inform their child’s health care providers of the condition once a diagnosis is confirmed, so they know what drugs should not be prescribed. The child's pediatrician can also help manage and control doses of certain medications such as paracetamol, vitamin C and vitamin K.

    Other than taking the abovementioned precautions, children with G6PD deficiency could grow up to live full and healthy lives. (Click here for a more detailed information about G6PD deficiency.)

    What other parents are reading

    Little Leon is receiving a lot of love from people who follow him on Instagram, and everyone's hoping and praying his test results turn out okay.  


    Many of his followers were saddened after reading the post, because the fact that he went for a confirmatory test may mean his chances of having G6PD deficiency is likely. Other people were quick to offer reassurance that everything will be well. Netizens who are also parents to kids with G6PD also provided unsolicited but well-meaning advice such as not letting Leon eat nuts, beans, mint, and soy foods. 

    Whatever the results are, we're pretty sure parents Iya and Drew will know what's best for Leon. 

    What other parents are reading

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