Short and Sweet: How to Best Understand Hemophilia

I recently read an article about Hemophilia A and B from the Cleveland Clinic. I thought it was incredibly helpful because, sometimes, I get confused about the differences between the two genetic conditions.

So, in an effort to help ME help YOU, here are some basic facts about hemophilia.

Understanding hemophilia A and B:

Hemophilia an inherited bleeding disorder where blood can’t clot properly at the site of an injury or wound. In simple terms, the condition occurs as a result of the lack of blood clotting factors. So, when a person is wounded or cut or bruised, they might bleed for an extended period of time—longer than someone without hemophilia would. And to complicate things, internal bleeds can occur spontaneously, for instance in the muscles and joints. Hemophilia affects men more than women.

Sorry guys. Source:
Sorry guys. Source:

More specs on A and B—the two types of genetic hemophilia:

Type A: Most people with the condition have this type. It occurs due to a lack of factor Vlll, which is a protein that stimulates the blood to clot.

Type B: Is less common and occurs due to a lack of factor lX.

Hemophilia is typically diagnosed in infancy—usually at birth, or after circumcision, but people can be diagnosed later on in childhood. However, there is an even rarer type that can be acquired in adulthood—IF, for some reason, antibodies are produced that attack and kill both clotting factors. Keep in mind, this is very, very, very rare and unusual.

Almost as rare as big foot. Source:
Almost as rare as big foot. Source:

On a cellular level, clotting factors are located only on the “X” chromosome. Women, for instance, who carry this irregular gene, will typically not have the condition. They, instead, become carriers. So, basically, women have a 50% chance of passing hemophilia on to their sons and daughters. Most people don’t realize, though, that a girl, in VERY rare instances, can actually be born with hemophilia—if her mother is a carrier and her father has the condition. It’s a double whammy.

And so is this. Source:
And so is this. Source:

How common is hemophilia A and B?

Hemophilia does not discriminate and affects every race and ethnic group. But it is very rare. Hemophilia A affects about 1 in just less than 10,000 people, and Hemophilia B is even more rare, affecting people at a rate of about 1 in 25,000. What the general public doesn’t understand is that the vast majority of people with hemophilia have the severe form of it. Only about 15% of people have the moderate type, and even fewer people have mild.

Treatments for hemophilia:

Depending on the type and severity of the condition, treatment options are available and can be customized by doctors based on individual needs. Some people treat only “on demand” (for surgery, etc.) as needed, while other people may treat prophylactically by a self-administered infusion as prescribed by their doctor.

Not that kind of doctor... Source:
Not that kind of doctor… Source:

To learn more about this disease, you can visit the Cleveland Clinic’s website here.

Well, did I get it right? If you have, are a carrier of, or are a caregiver of someone with hemophilia A or B, please let me hear from you. Do you think these “hemophilia basics” are suited to the general public? If not, what else do they need to know?

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone has a BA in psychology and is dedicated to improving the lives of others living with chronic illnesses.

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