What is hemophilia?
In hemophilia, blood does not clot properly. This usually happens because your body does not have enough of a certain kind of clotting factor. This makes it harder for bleeding to stop. People with hemophilia may bleed a lot after cuts, during surgery, or even after a fall. Some people have abnormal bleeding inside their bodies for no clear reason.
are two main types of hemophilia:
- Hemophilia A is caused
by a lack of active clotting factor VIII (8). About 1 out of every 5,000 male
babies is born with hemophilia A.1
- Hemophilia B (Christmas disease) is caused by a lack of active
clotting factor IX (9). It is less common and affects 1 out of 30,000 male
Hemophilia usually runs in families and almost always affects males. In rare cases, a person may get a type
that does not run in the family. This is called acquired hemophilia, and it affects both males and females.
What causes hemophilia?
Hemophilia A and B are caused by a flaw in a pair of
chromosomes. This flaw affects how much clotting
factor a person has and how well it works.
With acquired hemophilia, clotting
factors don't work right because the body makes antibodies that attack
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of hemophilia include:
- Bleeding into a joint or muscle, which causes
pain and swelling.
- Bleeding that is not normal after an injury or
- Easy bruising.
- Blood in the urine.
- Bleeding after dental
Some people with milder types of the
disease may not have symptoms until later in life. But most of the time, hemophilia symptoms are
noticed during infancy or childhood. Symptoms
noticed in infants include:
- Bleeding into the muscle, which causes a deep
bruise after the baby gets a routine vitamin K shot.
- Bleeding that
goes on for a long time after a baby is circumcised.
- Bleeding that
goes on for a long time after the umbilical cord is cut. This is rare.
How is hemophilia diagnosed?
If your doctor thinks that you or your child may have a problem with blood clotting, he or she will take a blood sample. The sample will be used in tests that check for the amount clotting factor, the type of hemophilia, and how severe the disease is.
How severe the disease is depends on how much clotting
factor is produced and when bleeding most often occurs.
- Mild hemophilia:
Clotting factor level is at least 5% of normal. This type might not be noticed
unless there is a lot of bleeding after a major injury or surgery.
- Moderate hemophilia: Clotting factor level
is 1% to 5% of normal. Bleeding normally follows a fall, sprain, or
- Severe hemophilia: Clotting factor
level is less than 1% of normal. Bleeding often happens one or more times a
week for no reason.