What is haemophilia, what are the causes and symptoms of the blood clotting condition and how is it treated?

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HAEMOPHILIA is an extremely rare condition, which affects around one in every 10,000 men in the UK.

But what causes the blood disorder, and how is it treated? Here’s what you need to know…

 Haemophilia is an extremely rare condition - affecting one in 10,000 British men, and some womenGetty – Contributor Haemophilia is an extremely rare condition – affecting one in 10,000 British men, and some women

What is haemophilia?

Haemophilia is a condition which affects the blood’s ability to clot.

Normally, when you cut yourself, clotting factors combine with blood cells called platelets to make the blood sticky. This makes the bleeding stop eventually.

But haemophiliacs don’t have as many blood clotting factors as they should – meaning they bleed for longer than usual.

 The condition affects the blood's ability to clotwww.netdoctor.co.uk The condition affects the blood’s ability to clot

What causes haemophilia?

Haemophilia is an inherited condition, which normally affects men.

Woman can also be carriers of the affected gene, and may experience symptoms.

It’s sometimes known as the ‘royal disease’ as Queen Victoria is believed to have been a carrier of the gene.

She is thought to have passed it onto several of her daughters, who married other European royals – meaning many of their kids died young.

Nowadays, haemophilia is treatable – and those with the condition should be able to have a long and normal life.

 It's sometimes known as the 'royal disease', as Queen Victoria was thought to be a carrierGetty Images – Getty It’s sometimes known as the ‘royal disease’, as Queen Victoria was thought to be a carrier

What are the symptoms of haemophilia?

The symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the number of blood clotting factors the patient has.

The main symptom is prolonged bleeding, which can be seen through:

  • Long nosebleeds
  • Wounds taking a long time to stop bleeding
  • Bleeding gums
  • Skin that bruises easily
  • Pain and stiffness around the joints because of internal bleeding

Parents should seek medical advice if your child bruises easily, has bleeding that doesn’t stop, has symptoms of joint bleeds (tingling, pain, stiffness, swelling, heat or the joint becoming tender), or if you have a family history of haemophilia – and are planning to have a baby.

There is a small, but serious, risk of a haemophiliac developing a bleed inside their skull. Symptoms of this include:

  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting
  • Change in mental state/confusion
  • Speaking difficulties and slurred speech
  • Double vision
  • Loss of co-ordination and balance
  • Paralysis of the facial muscles

Call 999 immediately if you think someone is bleeding inside their skull.

 Haemophilia is treated with injections from genetically engineered clotting factor medicinesGetty – Contributor Haemophilia is treated with injections from genetically engineered clotting factor medicines




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