What is Hemophilia?

Hemophilia is a rare, genetic bleeding disorder that does not allow blood to clot normally. People who are born with hemophilia do not have certain clotting factors needed for the normal blood clotting process to occur.

When blood vessels are injured, the clotting factors help the platelets stick to one another and form a clot at the injury site. These clotting proteins are not present and are unable to help in the formation of a solid clot. A person with hemophilia does not bleed faster but will ooze for a longer period of time than someone who does not have a bleeding disorder.

There are several types of factors that work together. Because of this, there are also various types of hemophilia. The more common types of are:

  • Hemophilia A, which affects factor VIII.
  • Hemophilia B, also known as the Christmas disease, which affects the factor IX.
  • Von Willebrand Disease, which affects the factor known as von Willebrand.

The severity of hemophilia depends on the amount of clotting factor in the blood. Most patients diagnosed have less than one percent putting them in the severe category. Patient’s with levels up to 5% are considered moderate and levels above 5% are considered mild. About 18,000 people in the U.S. live with this and approximately 1 in 5,000 males born in the U.S. will be diagnosed with hemophilia.

Links to more information on hemophilia:

National Hemophilia Foundation:
www.hemophilia.org
Hemophilia Federation of America:
www.hemophiliafed.org
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute:
www.nhlibi.nih.gov