Growing Older With Hemophilia: A Different Experience

As we age, we become more at risk for certain conditions. For instance, osteoporosis, atrial fibrillation, certain cancers, and heart disease, are more common in older individuals. These conditions pose challenges for anyone who develops them, but for some populations, such as hemophilia patients, they can be especially difficult to navigate.

The struggle

It all comes down to treatment options. For the general population, these conditions are treated with whatever is the best therapy currently on the market. Unfortunately for hemophilia patients, many of these treatments are unsafe due to their condition.

Many of the go-to treatments for atrial fibrillation, heart attack prevention, and stroke prevention involve a blood thinner. This is because blood clots can spark or exacerbate these conditions. However, for people with hemophilia, blood thinners can be extremely dangerous. So, doctors have to weigh the risk of stroke to the risk of an uncontrolled bleed.

So how do you work around it?

One of the best things for older hemophilia patients is simply communication. An open dialogue between patient and every medical professional who provides them care, will help ensure that they are prescribed the best type of treatment. Its really about assessing the particular patients condition and determining the most beneficial treatment for them as an individual. Well that, and thinking outside the box a little bit.

Sometimes, all this means is that hemophilia patients need to take a few different preventative measures than the average person. For instance, researchers have found that people with hemophilia are more prone to falling. This can be dangerous for older people with osteoporosis. If a patient with hemophilia and osteoporosis falls and fractures a bone, requiring surgery, there is much more risk of bleeding and infection than there is for someone who just has osteoporosis. Fortunately, yoga classes and other forms of exercise which emphasize balance have shown to be very effective preventative measures against falling.

Overall, although the conditions which often accompany aging can be exceptionally challenging for individuals with hemophilia, there are ways to cope. It just may mean taking a route that isn’t the most conventional.

You can read more about how hemophilia can effect your aging experience and the ways to not let it slow you down here.

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