The word haemophilia is derived from two Greek words, “haem” which blood and “philia” means love. Haemophilia is a blood clotting disorder. In this disease the blood fails to clot properly.
Haemophilia is a mostly genetic disorder which can be inherited from the parents having affected genes. These inherited haemophilia types are most commonly manifests itself in males. Haemophilia can also be non-genetic in certain individuals.
In haemophilia there is deficiency of certain blood clotting factors. Because of this deficiency, when a blood vessel is broken the resultant bleeding takes longer duration to stop. This kind of blood vessel injury occurring in brain can prove fatal.
Various types of Haemophilia:
Type A: in this type of haemophilia people have deficiency of clotting factor VIII. It is more common.
Type B: in this type, there is a deficiency of clotting factor number IX. It is less common.
Acquired haemophilia: a type of haemophilia in which antibodies are produced against factor VIII are called as acquired haemophilia.
The levels of the severity may vary in different individuals.
It is classified into 3 severity levels:
- Mild: clotting factor level is minimum 5%
- Moderate: the clotting factor level is between 1% to 5%.
- Severe: the levels of the clotting factors are less than 1%
A male may be suffering from haemophilia if he has:
- Bleeding tendency
- Frequent gum bleeding
- Frequent nose bleeds
- Blood in the urine
- Bleeding after dental procedure
- Easy bruising
- Swelling and bruising in the joints
- A bleed taking a long duration to control
- Pain and swelling from the bleeding in the muscles
Maximum of the cases are diagnosed in the childhood. When the infants start crawling, the knee joints might get hurt and have internal bleeds in the joint spaces.
Following test are done:
- Complete blood count
- Coagulation profile
- Factor VIII studies
- Platelet count
- Bleeding and clotting time
- CT/MRI to identify foci of haemorrhage
- USG for joint space bleeding
There is no permanent cure for haemophilia. It can be controlled with following treatment modalities:
- Frequent deficient clotting factor transfusions. These factors can be isolated from human serum or can be recombinant.
- Medicines to prevent bleeding are also prescribed by the treating physician.
- Pain medications are frequently used for the joint damage pain.
The bleeding episodes can be minimised if proper care is taken. Keeping the weight in a healthy range will help in reducing the load on the knees reducing the chances of bleeding. Aspirin should be completely avoided. Avoid taking non-prescribed drugs. Learn to identify the bleeding episodes so that you can contact the doctor and start the treatment as soon as possible.
- Internal bleeding
- Haemarthrosis (bleeding in the joints)
- Haemophilic Arthropathy (joint issues)
- Infections because of frequent blood transfusions
- Brain haemorrhage
If you have anyone in your family suffering this disease, it’s better to consult a doctor first before planning a pregnancy.
Consult the doctor if your child is having bleeding problems fitting in the given scenario.