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:
- Muscle hardening.
- 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.