Bleeding disorders are a group of conditions that occur when the blood Enrollment Form cannot clot properly. When clotting happens normally, the platelets (a type of blood cell) stick together at the site of the damaged blood vessel forming a clot. This clot allows the vessel to heal as well as prevent blood from leaking out of the blood vessel. In some people their body clots too much, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes, and in others, their bodies have trouble making clots which can lead to bleeding that can be slow to stop or cannot be stopped.
While most bleeding disorders are inherited, occasionally they can develop later in life if a person’s body forms antibodies that fight against the blood’s natural clotting factors.
Hemophilia may be the most well-known bleeding disorder. It is relatively rare and affects mostly males (although females can be affected). It can range from mild to severe and causes the blood to not clot properly due to the lack of a certain type of clotting factor in the blood. With this disorder, small cuts are not usually the problem, the greater concern is with deep bleeding inside the body such as in the knees, ankles and elbows.This internal bleeding can be very dangerous and can damage your internal organs and tissues.
There are several types of hemophilia. They are classified according to which clotting factor is affected:
- Hemophilia A, the most common type, is caused by insufficient clotting factor VIII.
- Hemophilia B, the second most common type, is caused by insufficient clotting factor IX.
- Hemophilia C, in which signs and symptoms are often mild, is caused by insufficient clotting factor XI.
Incidence – The clotting factor concentration, type of deficiency and overall severity level of a bleeding condition are caused by a genetic mutation of the coding responsible for producing a specific clotting factor.
- About 1 in 5,000 males is born with either Hemophilia A or B.
- Of the babies diagnosed with a bleeding disorder, approximately one-third are born with a mutation that is new and not found in the family’s medical history.
- Around 15%-20% of those with hemophilia will develop an inhibitor that harms the ability of the clotting factor to discontinue bleeding.
Recurring signs/symptoms that you may have a bleeding disorder include:
- Bruising easily
- Bleeding of the gums
- Heavy bleeding from small cuts or dental work
- Unexplained nose bleeds
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding into the joints causing pain and swelling
- Excessive bleeding following surgery
For those affected by a bleeding disorder, long term disease management is necessary to allow for an activity level that is as close to normal as possible. This road to a more active life is only a short journey away when working with Noble Health Services. Our team provides specialized care that is vital in the treatment of patients with all types of bleeding disorders. Transfusions, vitamin supplementation and prescription medications improve the blood’s ability to clot and replace the proteins that are missing in the blood. New, long-acting factors are being produced that, spark hope of an even better quality of life that involves fewer infusions and complications.
Contact your doctor if you’re experiencing extended or severe bleeding from any source.
If you’re scheduled to have surgery (including dental procedures), make sure your doctor or dentist knows that you have a bleeding disorder. Also be sure to mention if anyone in your family has a history of excessive bleeding.