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Health Information For Parents
Hemophilia is a rare disease that prevents blood from clotting as it should. It happens because the body doesn’t make enough of a protein called a clotting factor. Clotting helps stop bleeding after a cut or injury. If clotting doesn’t happen, someone can bleed easily or longer than normal.
Different treatments can help control bleeding in most people with hemophilia.
People with mild hemophilia (hee-muh-FIL-ee-uh) bleed longer than normal after an injury or surgery. People with severe hemophilia also might bleed for no reason at all. This type of bleeding, called spontaneous bleeding, usually happens into a joint.
Symptoms of hemophilia vary, depending on how much clotting factor a person has and where the bleeding is:
Clotting factors control bleeding by helping the body form a clot. Our bodies have 13 clotting factors that work together to clot blood. Having too little of factors VIII (8) or IX (9) is what causes hemophilia.
The two main types of hemophilia are hemophilia A and hemophilia B. Hemophilia A, which is more common, happens when there isn’t enough factor VIII. Hemophilia B is when there is too little factor IX.
Hemophilia can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on the amount of the clotting factor in the blood. The lower the level of the clotting factor, the more likely the person is to have bleeding.
Hemophilia is a genetic disorder. It happens when there’s a gene change (mutation), which usually is inherited (passed from parent to child).
Hemophilia mostly affects boys. But girls and women can be hemophilia carriers with mild hemophilia A. They may have mild bleeding symptoms and can pass the gene to their children.
To diagnose hemophilia, doctors order blood tests, including:
If hemophilia runs in the family, doctors can do prenatal (before birth) testing with amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. More often, when the baby is born, they’ll test a sample of blood from the umbilical cord.
Few babies are diagnosed with hemophilia in the first 6 months of life. That’s because they’re unlikely to have an injury that would lead to bleeding. Bleeding may happen after a circumcision, which can lead to the diagnosis.
As kids get older and more active, a doctor might suspect hemophilia if a child bruises easily and bleeds too much when injured.
Hemophilia treatment centers can provide full care to kids with hemophilia. Check the CDC’s website to find locations throughout the U.S.
The medical care team for kids with hemophilia usually includes:
The main treatment for hemophilia is factor replacement therapy. This gives the body the clotting factor it needs. It is given intravenously (IV, into a vein). A person may get factor replacement on a regular schedule (known as prophylaxis) or as a treatment for bleeding. Several products are now available. Talk about treatment options with the hemophilia care team.
Factor replacement can be done:
Doctors also can give medicines to help control bleeding during procedures (such as dental cleanings) and surgeries.
Some people with hemophilia develop inhibitors (antibodies to the clotting factor). Their bodies see the new clotting factor as an invader and develop antibodies that block its clotting action. This can make the hemophilia hard to treat, and requires different factor replacement therapy.
Help your child with hemophilia get the best care and avoid bleeding problems as much as possible. These tips can help:
Also, tell your child’s school staff, friends, and all caregivers that your child has hemophilia. They should know:
Hemophilia treatment has come a long way. Most people lead full, healthy lives with careful management of their condition. You can find information and support through your child’s care team and online at:
Doctors and scientists continue to work on other treatments, such as better and convenient ways to give replacement factor and gene therapy.
Thanks to advances like these, kids with hemophilia can lead more active lives.
Kids with hemophilia can bleed easily or longer than normal. So it’s important for parents to know how to handle bleeding when it happens.
Easy bruising and excessive bleeding can be signs of Von Willebrand disease, a genetic disorder that affects blood’s ability to clot.
A partial thromboplastin time (PTT) test is used to evaluate blood’s ability to clot. It may be done as part of an evaluation for a bleeding disorder or to monitor the effects of blood-thinning medicine.
Doctors may order a PT test as part of an evaluation for a bleeding disorder or to monitor the effects of blood-thinning medicine.
A factor VIII activity blood test enables doctors to evaluate the functioning of a protein that helps blood to clot.
Gene therapy carries the promise of cures for many diseases and for types of medical treatment most of us would not have thoughtÂ possible.
Find out about the mysterious, life-sustaining fluid called blood.
Here are the basics about the life-sustaining fluid called blood.
Read the basics about genetics, including how certain illnesses, or increased risks for certain illnesses, pass from generation to generation.
When people have Von Willebrand disease, their blood doesn’t clot properly. Many teens with VWD have such mild symptoms that they never know they have it.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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