Hemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder. Children with hemophilia can’t stop bleeding because they don’t have enough clotting factor in their blood. Clotting factors are needed for blood to clot. Blood clots to prevent excessive bleeding.
There are many blood clotting factors involved in the forming of clots to stop bleeding. Two common factors that affect blood clotting are factor VIII and factor IX.
How severe your child’s hemophilia is depends on the level of blood clotting factors in his or her blood.
The 3 main forms of hemophilia include:
Hemophilia types A and B are inherited diseases. They are passed on from parents to children through a gene on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome.
In about one-third of the children with hemophilia, there is no family history of the disorder. In these cases, it’s believed that the disorder could be related to a new gene flaw.
Carriers of the hemophilia gene often have normal levels of clotting factors but may:
Hemophilia C usually doesn’t cause problems, but people may have increased bleeding after surgery.
The most common symptom of this disorder is heavy, uncontrollable bleeding.
The severity of hemophilia depends on the amount of clotting factors in the blood. Those affected with hemophilia that have levels greater than 5% (100% being average for unaffected children) most often have bleeding only with major surgeries or tooth extractions. These children may not even be diagnosed until bleeding complications from a surgery occur.
Severe hemophilia is when the factor VIII or IX is less than 1%. Bleeding can occur in these children, even with the minimal activities of daily life. Bleeding may also occur from no known injury. Bleeding most often occurs in the joints and in the head.
Your child's symptoms may also include:
The symptoms of hemophilia may look like other problems. Always check with your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
he diagnosis of hemophilia is based on your family history, your child's medical history, and a physical exam. Blood tests include:
Your child's healthcare provider will refer you to a hematologist, an expert in blood disorders. Your child’s health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
Treatment depends on the type and severity of the hemophilia. Treatment for hemophilia is aimed at preventing bleeding complications (mainly head and joint bleeds). Treatment may include:
Complications of hemophilia include:
With careful management, many children with hemophilia can live relatively healthy lives with a normal lifespan.
Managing your child's hemophilia may include:
When you should call will vary based on how severe your child's condition is and what treatment he or she is getting. Since hemophilia is a long-term condition, talk with your child's healthcare provider about when you should call or get medical treatment for your child.
Call your child's healthcare provider if your child:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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