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    Hemophilia: Preventing Bleeding Episodes

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    Topic Overview

    How can I care for myself?

    If you have hemophilia, you can take steps at home to prevent bleeding episodes and improve your health.

    • Recognize bleeding symptoms.
    • Be active, but exercise with care.
    • Don't take nonprescription medicines unless your doctor tells you to.
    • Prevent injuries and accidents around your home.

    Recognize bleeding symptoms

    Many people who have hemophilia know when they are bleeding even before there are many symptoms.

    Bleeding in a joint

    Bleeding into a joint (hemarthrosis), often without an injury, is the most common bleeding problem in people who have severe hemophilia. Bleeding usually occurs in one joint at a time. Bleeding may occur in any joint, but knees, elbows, and ankles are most commonly affected. Sometimes one particular joint, called a target joint, will tend to bleed most often.

    Symptoms of bleeding into a joint include:

    • Warmth or tingling in the joint during the early stages of hemarthrosis. This is called an aura. If bleeding is not treated, mild discomfort can progress to severe pain.
    • Swelling and inflammation in the joint, caused by repeated episodes of bleeding. If episodes continue, the swelling may lead to chronic pain and destruction of the joint.
    • An infant or child not wanting to move an arm or leg because of bleeding into an affected joint. This is often first noticed when a child begins to walk.

    Bleeding in a muscle

    Another common symptom of hemophilia is bleeding into a muscle (hematoma), which can be mild or severe. There are many possible symptoms of bleeding into muscle, including:

    • Bruising.
    • Swelling.
    • Muscle hardening.
    • Tenderness.
    • Pain, especially when large muscle groups are affected.

    It is important to begin infusion with clotting factors as soon as possible after a bleeding episode has started, before any physical signs develop. Even with treatment, bleeding is sometimes hard to control. Frequent bleeding episodes or a serious injury can lead to complications and excessive blood loss.

    Work with your doctor to make a plan for what to do if you or your child has a bleed.

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    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: 2/, 014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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