Favism, a disease, as can be guessed, linked to beans, but many do not know that there are many other foods that can cause problems for those who suffer from it. There is also the question of inheritance to be explored, and no less the existence of an ad hoc association to assist and help those suffering from favism.
It is not enough, as anticipated, to avoid broad beans, in order to have no symptoms, and let's not confuse this disease with what can be defined as an allergy to broad beans. The favism is not a food allergy, a fairly rare problem to be encountered in our population, there are different symptoms and causes and it is good to understand them to avoid taking the wrong path by taking care.
Among the main symptoms are the sudden fever and the equally sudden onset of jaundice of the skin and mucous membranes, or of a not too cute yellow color in the urine.
The favism it can also manifest itself with pallor and weakness, with shortness of breath and rapid pulse. As you can see, this is a real disease that manifests itself with the symptoms listed above after a maximum of one day that we ate fresh broad beans, sometimes even leading to destruction of about half of the red blood cells.
Favism: foods to avoid
Those who suffer from favism, to date, to prevent symptoms from occurring must avoid eating some things, as well with broad beans and peas. Let's forget Lupins, Verbena and Peanuts and, if we want to be more serene, we add all the no to the list of "no" legumes (including soy and derivatives), blueberries and red wine, and even tonic water.
These are all foods that lead to the inhibition of the activity of the erythrocyte glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase enzyme and lead to a depletion of those red blood cells already deficient in the enzyme. Who is fond of Henna tattoos, I hope you do not suffer from Favism because both the black and the red Egyptian ones are not allowed.
There are drugs to avoid and it is best to take note: they are the sulfonamides, salicylics, quinidine and menadione. There are none to be taken, but if this problem leads to a hemolytic crisis it is necessary to resort to a blood transfusion, which is essential to avoid very rapid anemia.
Italian Favism Association
For those who suspect they suffer from this disease or those who want to learn more, this exists Association which offers assistance and promotes the dissemination of knowledge of Favism, both through the site and by organizing conferences or dedicated days.
A useful action for those who have to deal with one disease considered rare, diagnosable through a specific blood test that determines the presence of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase in red blood cells with which you can also identify healthy carriers.
The enzyme defect which is at the origin of this disease is transmitted by inheritance through the X chromosome, it is therefore a congenital defect linked to an enzyme contained in Red blood cells.
Men are most affected, women are healthy carriers and can pass on the genetic deficit to children males or getting sick with mild forms. Sardinia and Greece these are the areas we know, where favism is much more widespread than the average, others are found in South Asia and Africa.
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