Skip to Content
In hemophilia, blood does not clot properly. This usually happens because your body does not have enough of a certain kind of clotting factor. This makes it harder for bleeding to stop. People with hemophilia may bleed a lot after cuts, during surgery, or even after a fall. Some people have abnormal bleeding inside their bodies for no clear reason.
are two main types of hemophilia:
Hemophilia usually runs in families and almost always affects males. In rare cases, a person may get a type
that does not run in the family. This is called acquired hemophilia, and it affects both males and females.
Hemophilia A and B are caused by a flaw in a part of a gene. This flaw affects how much clotting
factor a person has and how well it works.
With acquired hemophilia, clotting
factors don't work right because the body makes antibodies that attack
Symptoms of hemophilia include:
Some people with milder types of the
disease may not have symptoms until later in life. But most of the time, hemophilia symptoms are
noticed during infancy or childhood. Symptoms
noticed in infants include:
If your doctor thinks that you or your child may have a problem with blood clotting, he or she will take a blood sample. The sample will be used in tests that check for the amount of clotting factor. If the level is low, then more tests will find out the type of hemophilia and how severe it is.
How severe the disease is depends on how much clotting
factor is produced and when bleeding most often occurs.
If hemophilia runs in your family and you are planning to have children, ask your doctor about tests that can show if you are a carrier. (Only females can be
carriers.) This will allow you to make informed decisions about pregnancy and prenatal care.
Hemophilia can be
treated by replacing missing blood clotting factors. This is called clotting factor replacement therapy. Clotting factor concentrate is injected into a vein. Replacement therapy can prevent or treat bleeding episodes.
You may need to take medicines, such as desmopressin (for example, DDAVP or Stimate), that help prevent bleeding. You might take medicines at certain times, such as before you have surgery or dental work. Some people also need pain medicine to help with pain from joint damage.
You can live a normal life with treatment. Hemophilia treatment centers
are available at most large medical centers. They are an excellent resource to
help you and your family get the best care for this condition.
You can take steps at home
to prevent bleeding episodes and improve your health.
Learning about hemophilia:
Living with hemophilia:
Chitlur M, Kulkarni R (2015). Hemophilia and related conditions. In ET Bope, RD Kellerman, eds., Conn's Current Therapy 2015, pp. 846–853. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Other Works Consulted
Chitlur M, Kulkarni R (2013). Hemophilia and related conditions. In ET Bope, RD Kellerman, eds., Conn's Current Therapy 2013, pp. 803–810. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Friedman KD, Rodgers GM (2009). Inherited coagulation disorders. In JP Greer et al., eds., Wintrobe's Clinical Hematology, 12th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1379–1424. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Hillman RS, et al. (2011). Hemophilia and other intrinsic pathway defects. In RS Hillman et al., eds., Hematology in Clinical Practice, 5th ed., pp. 398–410. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Roberts HR, et al. (2010). Hemophilia A and hemophilia B. In K Kaushansky et al., eds., Williams Hematology, 8th ed., pp. 2009–2029. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Srivastava A, et al. (2013). Guidelines for the management of hemophilia. Haemophilia, 19(1): e1–e47. Also available online: http://www.wfh.org/en/page.aspx?pid=1270.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerBrian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
Current as ofJuly 6, 2015
Current as of:
July 6, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2016 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)