Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder of the blood clotting system. It prevents blood from clotting properly. There are several types of hemophilia and all causes prolonged bleeding. It is a lifelong disease but with proper treatment patients can maintain a normal, active lifestyle. Hemophilia is a genetic disorder and affects boys more than girls. The gene that causes hemophilia A or B is located on the X chromosome, so it can’t be passed from father to son. Hemophilia A and B is passed on from mother to sons. Females who have the defective genes are usually carriers and usually dont show any signs of the disease. These types can also occur through spontaneous gene mutation.
When you bleed , there is a series of reactions that makes the blood clot. This is called coagulation cascade. Coagulation involves clotting factors which are platelets and plasma proteins. These clotting factors encourage clotting. When one or more of these clotting factors are missing, there is a higher chance of bleeding.Hemophilia is caused by a lack of enough factor VIII or IX.
Hemophilia A : It is caused by lack of enough clotting factor 8 (VIII) and is the most common type.
Hemophilia B : It is the second most common type and caused by lack of enough clotting factor 9 (IX).
Hemophilia C : It usually presents mild symptoms and happens due to lack of clotting factor 11 (XI).
Signs and symptoms of hemophilia may vary depending on the severity of the factor deficiency and the location of the bleeding. The main symptom however is bleeding. Some of the symptoms may be mild and go unnoticed until later in life. In more severe cases, bleeding in the joints and internal bleeding may occur. Symptoms include the following :
- bloody stool
- prolonged bleeding from cuts and injuries and after surgery
- prolonged nosebleed
- unusual bleeding after immunizations
- joint pain and swelling by internal bleeding
- many deep bruises
- tightness in joints
The following symptoms may require immediate medical attention.
- repeated vomiting
- lasting headaches
- neck pain
- double vision
- swelling, pain and inflammation of large joints such as hips and shoulders
TEST AND DIAGNOSIS
Your doctor will suspect you have the disease when you have a pattern of bruising and bleeding. Family history of the disease is also an important diagnostic tool. Analysing blood samples can also show a deficiency of a clotting factor.
There is no cure for the disease. Treatment depends on severity of the condition. Hemophilia can be managed with clotting factor replacement therapy. This is done through a vein ( intravenously).It helps prevent bleeding.
Taking these precautionary measures will help one cope with this disease
Engage regularly in exercises such as swimming bicycling, to protect your joints and build your muscles.
Avoid medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) that aggravates bleeding.
Protect child from activities that causes bleeding.
Practice good oral hygiene.