The importance of staying healthy is exaggerated for people with G6PD Deficiency. There are several things that influence how severe a hemolytic crises can be. One of those things is our general physical health at the time. When we keep ourselves in peak physical condition, our body is much more capable of fighting anemia and replacing and cleaning up the dead red blood cells. We should get enough exercise, take precautions against infectious diseases and make sure we are eating properly. All three of these things work together to keep us feeling well and energetic.
Exercise: It is important to get enough exercise coupled with proper rest. It is a well documented fact that these are necessary for a healthy body, so I will not elaborate here other than to admonish against over extending during exorcise. Don’t push yourself beyond what you can handle.
Precautions against infectious diseases: The old adage about “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies especially to us. Some infectious diseases cause hemolysis and then hemolysis causes the disease to be worse, which causes more hemolysis…etc. Most drugs commonly taken for fever, pain and congestion are contraindicated and can cause even more hemolysis. A healthy immune system coupled with some common sense can go a long way toward preventing colds and flu.
One. Wash your hands often and especially after coming home from being in a public place or visiting someone who is sick. Don’t touch your eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.
Two: Eat those greens and veggies. Spinach, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc. are all great. The more colorful your meal, the better balanced the nutrition will be. Liver, bone stocks, eggs, meat, fish, poultry all contribute to a healthy body.
Three: Take precautions against mosquitoes. See Mosquito Protection for more information.
All these things will help you stay well by building a strong immune system and helping to prevent exposure to sickness.
Avoid foods and drugs on the avoid lists: This is the big one. If we don’t have enough red blood cells to deliver the oxygen and nutrients we need, our body won’t be able to keep us healthy no matter what else we do.
If we cut ourselves and it bleeds, how much does it have to bleed before we feel anemic? The answer is a lot. The same goes for hemolysis. The problem is that we are “bleeding” without knowing it until the hemolysis becomes severe. By the time we start showing symptoms, we have already hemolyzed way too much. Having to go to the hospital and get blood is not fun. It is expensive and the worst part is that getting blood has it’s own risks. Some deadly. So the best advice I can give you is to prevent it in the first place. Stay far away from everything on the avoid lists.
Remember that just because you have eaten something your whole life and not “noticed” any reaction, it only takes the right set of circumstances for it to cause a hemolytic crises. Your body’s stress level, sickness, combination with another trigger or triggers, general health and depression or other mental stress all affect the severity of hemolysis.
So, take care of yourself and follow these suggestions for a healthier life. I’ve been on the brink of death due to a hemolytic crises more than once in my life and it is no fun. Knowledge is power.
All the best,