What is Hemophilia?

Hemophilia is a very rare disorder, where a lack proteins called €˜clotting factors', prevents excessive bleeding in those afflicted. Even minor cuts and bruises have the potential for heavy blood loss. This genetic disorder is passed down through a family's genes and occurs almost exclusively in men.

[caption id="attachment_1113" align="aligncenter" width="553"]What is Hemophilia? What is Hemophilia?[/caption]

The most disconcerting problem for people with hemophilia is internal bleeding, especially bleeding into joints like the knees, elbows, and ankles. When bleeding happens inside the joint, it becomes very swollen and painful. Repeated bleeding into a joint can lead to severe arthritis. Internal bleeding in vital areas such as the brain, throat, and abdomen can be life-threatening.

A person with mild hemophilia may only experience problems with bleeding during surgery, major dental work, or injury. A person with moderate hemophilia will have those problems plus bleeding problems with more minor injuries such as a hard bump to the knee. A person with severe hemophilia can have what are called spontaneous bleeds, where bleeding starts inside the body for no known reason. People with hemophilia this severe should consider getting a personalized ID tag.

In some cases of hemophilia, about one-third, the disorder is believed to be due to a spontaneous mutation. Meaning there is no family history of hemophilia. It's estimated that there are about 20,000 people in the United States with hemophilia. One out of every 5,000 boys born has hemophilia, making this condition about as rare as triplets.

There is no known cure for hemophilia at this time, but much promising research is being done and there are ways to manage the condition. People with hemophilia stop bleeding by taking an injection of the clotting factor that is missing from their blood.

Hemophilia is definitely a serious condition, however, thanks to modern medicine, many of those with the condition find it possible to lead fulfilling active lives.





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