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What Is Hemophilia?


WRITTEN BY: CancerCenter
Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Hemophilia is a rare disorder that prevents blood from clotting normally.

People with hemophilia may bleed longer than normal, due to a deficiency in clotting factors in the blood. Those with hemophilia may bleed more easily than others and often require lifelong treatment.

What Causes Hemophilia?

People are born with hemophilia, whether because their parents are carriers of the hemophilia gene or because a spontaneous genetic mutation prevents their body from making the right clotting factors, including clotting Factor VIII for Type A hemophilia or clotting Factor IX for Type B hemophilia.

In both types of hemophilia, there are mild, moderate, and severe levels of clotting deficiency.

What Are the Symptoms of Hemophilia?

People with hemophilia lack important clotting factors in their body, so the symptoms primarily include bleeding longer than normal. Other symptoms include:

  • Bleeding in the joints and muscles
  • Excessive bruising and hematoma
  • Bloody urine or stool
  • Nosebleeds that won’t stop
  • Bleeding gums

What Are Hemophilia Treatment Options?

Historically, hemophilia treatment has included infusions of the deficient clotting factor, processed from a blood donor. Fortunately, the required clotting factors are now created in a lab, though some donor-derived factors are occasionally used.

These clotting factors are infused into the body through a vein or an embedded port. They can be administered regularly as a form of prophylaxis, or they can be given as needed.

Milder forms of hemophilia Type A can be treated with medications that stimulate the production of Factor VIII. Medications can also be administered to help prevent clots from breaking down. Treatment at specific sites of bleeding can also help manage symptoms.

Getting the Best Care with Hemophilia

If you or a loved one believe you have symptoms of hemophilia, you should contact your health care provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Left untreated, hemophilia can lead to damaged joints and muscles, as well as life-threatening blood loss. But with the right treatment and lifestyle, people with this disorder can live full, rewarding lives.

Want to learn more about hemophilia? To schedule an appointment with UPMC hematologists, you can call 1-800-533-UPMC or request an appointment here or visit the UPMC CancerCenter website.

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