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Hemophilia

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Hemophilia is a blood disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. This means that a minor cut can cause a serious bleeding wound that requires urgent medical attention. Clotting is the process the blood goes through in order to change from a liquid form into a solid form, which the causes scabs in order to prevent more blood from leaving the body. While small cuts can sometimes be managed despite their risk, bleeding into the joints, internal bleeding, and deep cuts can prove fatal in a hemophiliac.

HEMOPHILIA SYMPTOMS

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Clotting factors, the blood’s natural agent to help the clotting process, can also range from normal to low. Patients with very low clotting factors may experience spontaneous bleeding. Symptoms of spontaneous bleeding and other symptoms of hemophilia include deep bruising, numerous large bruises, unexplained bleeding or unexplained bruising, blood in the urine or stool, swelling of the joints caused by internal bleeding, joint pain, prolonged bleeding related to cuts, tooth extraction, and abrasions, tight joints, nosebleeds without an obvious cause, and irrational amounts of blood from cuts.

Some symptoms can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention such as sudden onset pain, swelling, or stiffness and warmth of the joints, a highly painful and long lasting headache, extreme fatigue, continuous vomiting, neck pain, double vision, and bleeding excessively from an injury.
Hemophilia
Image: Hemophilia


Babies will often show no signs of hemophilia because they do not tend to move enough, although some babies will begin to show bruising at around six to ten months of age.

The blood has 20 different clotting factors which clot blood in the event of an injury. The type of hemophilia a patient is afflicted with is determined by which clotting factor their blood does not produce. Hemophilia, regardless of which type or which clotting factor is missing, is always caused by a genetic inheritance. Both the mother and the father of a child must pass on the genetic deficiency in order for a child to be a hemophiliac.

In patients with a family history or previous children with hemophilia, babies can be tested for the disease while still in the uterus. A blood test can determine the presence of hemophilia and the lack of the appropriate clotting factors. Some patients with mild hemophilia are never diagnosed and live asymptomatically until a surgical procedure or tooth extraction is performed.

HEMOPHILIA SIDE EFFECTS

Complications associated with hemophilia include bruising and bleeding into the muscles, bleeding into the joints, joint damage, infection, adverse reactions to clotting factor treatments, and the risk of significant blood loss. Bleeding into the muscle or joints can lead to severe pain and reluctance to use the body part which has been affected. People with hemophilia often receive blood transfusions and are in a high risk category for receiving tainted or infected blood. Some patients with hemophilia develop a tolerance to the clotting factors used in their treatment which renders their treatment useless.
Blood disorder
Image: Blood disorder

HEMOPHILIA TREATMENT

There is no cure for hemophilia. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the disease. Some patients are able to respond well to encouraging their own body to make clotting factors. Other patients need perpetual injections of clotting factors and rely on synthetic clotting factors in the event of an emergency. Some patients receive weekly transfusions to maintain an appropriate level of clotting factors in the blood.

HEMOPHILIA PREVENTION

Patients with hemophilia should exercise regularly, although contact sports and sports with a high incident of injury are not recommended. Dental hygiene is a must for hemophiliacs, as the lack dental hygiene can lead to tooth extractions, which can cause excessive bleeding and complications. Some medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin can aggravate bleeding and create an environment in the body which can lead to disastrous results. Medications should be avoided that contribute to slow clotting, excessive bleeding, or blood thinning.
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