Understanding Hemophilia

Hemophilia is a condition of prolonged bleeding. It may be present at the time of birth through hereditary, or in some unfortunate cases, may occur later in life too.
For those who wonder how normal bleeding is different from hemophilia, the answer is simple; in normal bleeding, a type of protein present in the blood causes the blood to clot and hence stop the bleeding. On the other hand, a person with hemophilia bleeds for a longer period of time as the clotting factor is quite low.

Overview of Hemophilia. Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot normally. Bleeding may occur spontaneously or following any injury.

There are two types of hemophilia
Hemophilia A (Factor VIII defficiency)
Hemophilia B (Factor IX defficiency )

The genes causing hemophilia are located in the X chromosome. Men have only one X chromosome & women have two X chromosome. In men, both types of hemophilia are linked to X chromosome, which means hemophilia primarily affect men. Since women have two X chromosome, even if one chromosome carries defective genes the other gene on the other X chromosome will protect the woman from carrying hemophilia.

- If a toddler has hemophilia, bleeding often results from falls.
- Blood in the urine.
- Hemophilia commonly affects the knees followed by elbow, ankle, shoulder, and wrist.
- Headache, nausea, vomiting, and seizure often accompany bleeding into the brain.

A blood test is performed to check the occurrence of hemophilia. If you have a family history of hemophilia, get yourself checked.

In case of hemophilia A, there is a deficiency of Factor 8 and in Hemophilia B, there is deficiency of Factor IX. The main treatment for hemophilia is replacement therapy. One may have to opt for replacement therapy on a regular basis or when the injury occurs.

This post was complied with expert inputs from Dr Arpit Jain, Consultant, Internal Medicine at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon.

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