Hemophilia is a blood clotting disorder that usually occurs in males only. Hemophiliacs have a deficiency of certain clotting factors, which are substances needed for blood to clot efficiently. If you have this disorder you may:
- bleeding for a long time
- heavy bleeding from a minor cut
- have nosebleeds for no obvious reason
- internally bleeding, causing organ damage
- bleeding resumes after stopping for a short time
- bleeding in your brain, a very serious complication
- bleeding into your joints causing pain, which can lead to arthritis
Hemophilia can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how much clotting factor is in the blood. There are two main types of hemophilia:
- hemophilia A ~ little or no clotting factor VIII (8)
- hemophilia B ~ missing or low levels of clotting factor IX (9)
About 90% of hemophiliacs have type A, and about 70% of these sufferers have the severe form.
Signs or symptoms that may indicate brain bleeding are:
- double vision
- being very sleepy
- difficulty walking
- repeated vomiting
- changes in behavior
- neck pain or stiffness
- convulsions or seizures
- long-lasting painful headaches
- sudden weakness or clumsiness
The main treatment for hemophilia’s excessive bleeding is injection of the missing clotting factor into the bloodstream.
- If your father has hemophilia but your mother is not a hemophilia gene carrier, then their sons will not have hemophilia, but their daughters will carry the gene.
- If your mother is a hemophilia gene carrier and your father is not a hemophiliac, then their sons will have a 50% chance of being a hemophiliac and their daughters have a 50% chance of being a gene carrier.
In addition to being inherited, hemophilia can also develop if your body forms antibodies to clotting factors in your bloodstream.