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Hemophilia A

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What Is Hemophilia A?

When you have hemophilia, your blood doesn't clot normally. That means your body has problems stopping bleeding, both outside and inside your body.

The good news is that it can be treated, and in some cases you can give yourself the treatment at home. You can lead a full life when you have the right treatment plan in place.

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There are different types of hemophilia. With hemophilia A, your body doesn’t have enough of a protein called factor VIII, which your body needs to make clots and stop bleeding.

Hemophilia A can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how little you have of factor VIII.

Hemophilia A runs in families. It's usually diagnosed in babies, toddlers, or young children.

Causes

Hemophilia A comes from your genes. You can inherit it from your parents. Or it can happen if a certain gene changes before you're born. This change is called a mutation.

There is a rare, dangerous form of hemophilia A that is not inherited. It's called acquired hemophilia A and it can be related to pregnancy, cancer, or the use of certain medications. However, no cause can be found in about half of cases.     

Symptoms

The main symptoms you might notice are bleeding more than normal and bruising easily. For instance:

  • Nosebleeds for no apparent reason
  • Heavy bleeding from small injuries
  • Heavy long-term bleeding in the mouth after a tooth is removed
  • Bleeding from a cut or injury that starts up again after stopping
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Large bruises

If you have bleeding in a muscle or joint, it may be painful to move it. You may have swelling, and the area may feel hot to the touch.

Bleeding can also happen in the brain. If you have a head bump -- even if it's minor -- and you have any of the following symptoms, call your doctor:

  • A headache
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Throwing up
  • Sleepiness
  • Sudden weakness or problems walking

Getting a Diagnosis

Does your child bruise easily, or bleed for longer than normal from small injuries? Make an appointment with your child’s doctor. They can check to see if it's hemophilia.

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