Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Understanding Hemophilia -- the Basics

What Is Hemophilia?

Hemophilia refers to a group of inherited disorders that cause abnormal bleeding. The bleeding occurs because part of the blood -- called plasma -- has too little of a protein that helps blood clot.

Symptoms of hemophilia range from increased bleeding after trauma, injury, or surgery to sudden bleeding with no apparent cause. There are two types of hemophilia:

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

Jeff Gordon Is Driven to Help Children

Jeff Gordon knows how to win. The numbers don't lie: four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, three Daytona 500 victories, and more than 80 NASCAR wins. But in Gordon's drive to succeed, he is not the only winner. Although he waited until he was 35 to start a family -- his wife, Ingrid, gave birth to daughter Ella Sofia last June -- caring for children has been a priority for quite a long time. In 1992, Ray Evernham, then Gordon's crew chief, came to him with bad news: Evernham's young son,...

Read the Jeff Gordon Is Driven to Help Children article > >

  • Hemophilia A -- also called classic hemophilia -- is most common and occurs in about 80% of people with hemophilia.
  • Hemophilia B -- also called Christmas disease -- is less common and occurs in about 20% of people with hemophilia.

Hemophilia A

Hemophilia A results from too little of a plasma protein called factor VIII, which helps blood clot. The greater the deficiency, the more severe the symptoms.

  • Mild hemophilia: 5% to 40% of the normal factor VIII level
  • Moderate hemophilia: 1% to 5% of the normal factor VIII level
  • Severe hemophilia: Less than 1% of the normal factor VIII level

Most people who have hemophilia A have moderate or severe symptoms.

Hemophilia B

Hemophilia B results from too little of a plasma protein called factor IX, which helps blood clot. As in hemophilia A, hemophilia B can be mild, moderate, or severe. The greater the deficiency, the more severe the symptoms.

Recognizing Hemophilia

If there is no family history of hemophilia, an infant would not be tested for the condition. However, if there is a family history of hemophilia, specific tests can be done from an umbilical cord blood sample to see if a newborn infant has hemophilia. In fact, if the family desires, such testing can be done before a child is born.

For moderate or severe hemophilia, doctors and caregivers usually don't see any signs of the condition at birth or even for some time afterward. Symptoms in children may include:

  • Heavy bleeding in a male baby after circumcision
  • Excessive bruising or unusual bleeding during teething
  • Swollen, bruised joints or muscles when learning to walk
  • Frequent falls and bumps

For mild hemophilia, you may not have any noticeable symptoms until you undergo a dental procedure, which may cause you to bleed heavily, or you may not have any unusual bleeding unless you are injured in an accident or have surgery.

1 | 2 | 3

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
mature woman holding fan in face
Symptoms and treatments.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.