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Hers Disease (GSD6)

Diagnosis & Follow up

Before reading too much about GSD6 be assured that, with good dietary management, people can lead a normal life, have unaffected children and live into old age.

Symptoms

Initial symptoms can vary, common childhood symptoms are:

  • A swollen abdomen (tummy) due to an enlarged liver
  • A history of poor growth or short stature
  • Frequent feeding – always hungry
  • Episodes of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) on fasting
  • Excessive tiredness following activity

Potential complications in later life:

  • Cirrhosis (scarring) and /or adenomas on the liver
  • Pregnancy should be closely monitored

Symptoms may lessen

Those affected by GSD6 may find their symptoms lessen as they become adults. We generally need less energy as we get older because we are not growing.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of GSD6 is made on the basis of symptoms and/or following the results of a physical examination and blood test results.

Cause

GSD6 is caused by a defect in the phosphorylase enzyme. The defective enzyme prevents glucose from being properly extracted and so glycogen continues to build up in the body. This accounts for the enlarged liver and swollen abdomen and produces symptoms of low blood sugar. Periods of low blood sugar in GSD6 are milder than other types of GSD as those with GSD6 can also make glucose from protein.