Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) is a lifelong bleeding disorder. Although it is passed through families, it may not be diagnosed until adulthood or when girls reach puberty. Most cases of VWD are mild and often don’t require treatment. There are several types of this disorder and your doctor will work with you to devise a treatment plan that's best for you. In some cases, treatment may be needed only to prevent or to treat bleeding associated with medical or dental surgery, menstrual bleeding, or after an accident.8
Types of VWD1
Type 1 is the most common form of VWD and accounts for about 70% to 80% of all cases. This type is due to reduced levels of von Willebrand factor and, sometimes, to low levels of factor VIII. Bleeding is usually mild.
Type 2 occurs when there’s a defect in VWD factor, so it does not work properly. It includes subtypes 2A, 2B, 2M, and 2N. People with type 2 VWD usually have mild-to-moderate symptoms. Each subtype is treated differently, so knowing the exact subtype is important.
Type 3 occurs when there is an absence or very low levels of VWD factor and factor VIII. People with type 3 VWD often have severe bleeding symptoms. This rare type of VWD can cause frequent bleeding, including in the joints and muscles, similar to hemophilia.
- Very heavy menstrual bleeding
- Frequent nosebleeds
- 8National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. How Is von Willebrand Disease Treated? Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vwd/treatment. Accessed Oct. 4, 2017.
- 1National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. What Is von Willebrand Disease? Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vwd. Accessed Oct. 4, 2017.