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.
Be careful taking nonprescription medicines.
- Prevent injuries and accidents around your
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
- 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,
- 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.
Be active, but careful
People who have
hemophilia can help prevent bleeding episodes by
choosing appropriate exercises that keep their muscles and joints in good
shape. Exercise helps keep muscles flexible and strong and helps control
weight, lessening the likelihood of a bleeding episode. Before you or your
child participates in any sport, the family needs to learn how to administer
clotting factors at home. Injuries can then be treated
quickly. The sooner a bleeding episode is treated, the less damage bleeding
will do to muscles and joints.
People who have hemophilia need to be careful when they participate
in certain activities in order to prevent injury and serious bleeding.
Stretching and warming up with a few minutes of gentle exercise are important
because muscles will be less likely to be pulled or torn and therefore less
likely to bleed.