(Hemophilia A—Factor VIII Deficiency; Classic Hemophilia; Hemophilia B—Factor IX Deficiency; Christmas Disease)
Hemophilia is a group of bleeding disorders. Blood clotting factors are needed to prevent and stop bleeding. They are low or missing in people with hemophilia.
The most common types are:
- Hemophilia A (classic hemophilia)—caused by too little or no factor VIII (most common)
- Hemophilia B (Christmas disease)—caused by too little or no factor IX
A faulty gene on a certain DNA strand causes hemophilia. Females carry 2 copies of the strand. If one is faulty, the other one takes over. The faulty gene can pass to their children. If so, the female child will carry the gene. If it passes to the male, they will get the disease because they carry one copy of the strand.
It is possible for a female to get the disease. They would have to get the faulty gene from both parents.
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Hemophilia almost always occurs in males. The risk is higher in people who have family members who have it.
Symptoms differ based on severity. Bleeding is the main issue. It is often related to an injury or surgery.
Bleeding in the joints is a common problem. Other common problems are:
- Easy bruising
- Repeated nosebleeds
- Blood in the urine (pee)
- Blood in the stool (poop)
- Heavy bleeding after minor cuts or bumps
- Bleeding after dental work or surgery
- Heavy periods in women
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. This may point to hemophilia.
Blood tests may also be done to see how well the blood clots. These tests will also look for low or missing clotting factors.
The goal of treatment is to help the blood clot properly. Options are:
- Clotting factor injections to replace the factor that is missing
- Medicine to cause clotting factor to be released by the lining of blood vessels
- Lifestyle changes to lower the risk of bleeding, such as taking steps to avoid injury
There are no known ways to prevent this problem.
- Bleeding disorders. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/bleeding-disorders.
- Hemophilia A. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hemophilia-a.
- Hemophilia B. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hemophilia-b.
- Konkle BA, Josephson NC, Nakaya Fletcher S. Hemophilia B GeneReviews 2014 Jun 5.
- April Scott, NP
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