Posted on: 27 February 2018
Most times, dark urine typically indicates your child isn't drinking enough water and is (or becoming) dehydrated. However, sometimes tea-colored urine can also indicate a serious medical condition. In particular, this symptom may be a signal that your child suffers from a G6PD deficiency. Here's more information about this condition and how it's best treated.
The Asymptomatic Genetic Defect
G6PD deficiency is an inherited condition that characterized by the body's inability to maintain healthy red blood cells. G6PD is an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase whose job, among other things, is to protect red blood cells from harmful byproducts caused by medications or infections. When the body doesn't have sufficient amounts of the enzyme, red blood cells become damaged or destroyed.
As a result, children with this genetic disorder typically develop hemolytic anemia after suffering a triggering event, such as
- Taking certain antibiotics
- Consuming certain pain killers
- Taking certain fever reducing medicines
- Falling ill with a bacterial or viral infection
- Taking certain antimalarial drugs
When a child is subjected to any one of these, the red blood cells in their bodies start dying because they don't have enough G6PD to protect the cells from harm. Hemolytic anemia sets in after enough red blood cells are destroyed.
While this genetic defect can affect anyone, it most commonly affects males of African descent, and people of Italian, Arabic, Greek, and Sephardic Jewish ethnicities. Although people of African descent get it more often, people of Mediterranean descent are affected more severely by the condition when it's triggered.
Symptoms of G6PD Deficiency
The problem with G6PD deficiency is that it doesn't cause any symptoms, and people who have it can actually live normal live until they suffer one of the triggers. The only way you would know about the condition before hand is if the child underwent genetic testing.
However, once a child suffers a trigger, he or she will usually display the following symptoms:
- Dark urine, as dark as tea
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- Severe fatigue
- Pale skin on the face or in the mouth
If your child begins exhibiting these symptoms after an illness or consuming certain medications, take him or her to a doctor as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.
In many cases, the only treatment necessary is to remove the trigger. For instance, switch the child to a medication that won't aggravate the deficiency. However, if the reaction is severe enough, the child may need to receive a transfusion of healthy red blood cells.
To learn more about this condition or other issues that may be affecting your child, contact a pediatrician such as those at Ada Pediatrics PA.Share