5 hemophilia facts you might not know

Hemophilia is a disease in which the blood does not clot properly. It is rare and typically hereditary, often leading to spontaneous or excessive bleeding, especially following injuries or surgery, and internal bleeding can be a major risk factor. Below, we’re exploring a few hemophilia facts many people may not know.

5 facts about hemophilia

  1. Hemophilia A vs. B: Hemophilia A and hemophilia B are the two most common types of hemophilia. In both cases, there is a deficiency in the protein needed for blood clotting — hemophilia A is caused by a lack of clotting factor VIII and hemophilia B is caused by a lack of clotting factor IX. The severity of hemophilia varies depending on the percentage of factor levels within a person’s blood, and hemophilia A is about four times as common as hemophilia B.
  2. Rates of hemophilia: Hemophilia is inherited via the X chromosome, making it far more likely to impact males than females. Hemophilia occurs in about 1 of every 5,000 male births, and about half of those affected have a severe form. Approximately 400,000 people are living with hemophilia worldwide, with roughly 20,000 of those living with it in the United States. Hemophilia affects people from all racial and ethnic groups.
  3. Treatments for hemophilia: There is no known cure for hemophilia, but treatments are advancing thanks to continued medical research. A common treatment plan for hemophilia involves replacement therapy, where doctors inject clotting factor VIII or IX into a patient’s veins to increase the levels. Depending on the severity, some people will have to have this therapy regularly to prevent bleeding. 
  4. Hemophilia symptoms: The symptoms of hemophilia vary from person to person, but they typically include: 
    • bleeding into the joints (this can cause swelling, pain, and tightness; it often affects the knees, elbows, and ankles)
    • bleeding into the skin or muscle and soft tissue causing a build-up of blood in the area
    • bleeding of the mouth and gums
    • bleeding after having shots
    • blood in the urine or stool
    • frequent and hard-to-stop nosebleeds
  5. How hemophilia is diagnosed: Since hemophilia is typically genetic, many people who are living with the disorder or have relatives with a history of hemophilia will have male children tested shortly after birth. However, it is important to note that approximately one-third of babies who are diagnosed with hemophilia have no other family members with the disorder. A hemophilia diagnosis requires screening tests and clotting factor tests, which check if the blood is clotting properly and whether the hemophilia is mild, moderate, or severe. 

Hemophilia research can’t move forward without patients taking part. The good news is that clinical trials and research studies are available now — click the link below to learn more.