Bleeding Disorders

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What are bleeding disorders

Most bleeding disorders are typically categorized as hemophilia or von Willebrand Disease (VWD). In hemophilia, more than 20,000 men, women and children in the US have a condition in which their blood cannot form clots.1 If clots cannot form, there’s an increased risk for too much bleeding and blood loss, both inside the body (internal bleeding) and on the outside of the body (such as a cut or scratch to the skin). Losing too much blood can lead to serious health problems. As a group, these conditions are known as “bleeding disorders.” Many individuals are diagnosed at birth, but diagnosis can occur at any age. Bleeding disorders are lifelong, incurable diseases.

What happens

You can think of “clots” as acting like plugs that stop blood vessels from bleeding. Clots are formed by a type of blood cell called a “platelet.” These cells stick together to plug the break in the blood vessel.

What causes this

Most of these conditions are passed through families (inherited) or result from problems with the genes (genetic material) that instruct the body to make the proteins that help blood to form clots. These proteins are known as “clotting factor.” There are 13 different types of clotting factor. Different problems and symptoms can occur, depending upon which clotting factor is absent.

What is the treatment

Although treatments vary for each condition, they generally involve having regular doses of clotting factor to help prevent bleeding. While not curable, the condition is manageable and treatable.