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What Is Haemophilia? Its Causes, Symptoms, Complications.

A rare disorder, haemophilia is an inherited condition in which your blood does not clot normally due to the lack of sufficient blood-clotting proteins or clotting factors. An individual with haemophilia will have excessive bleeding, as the blood doesn’t clot properly.

If an individual with haemophilia gets injured, they can bleed for a longer time. While small cuts do not pose any risk, deep bleeding inside your body, especially in your knees, ankles and elbows, and can damage your organs and tissues .

According to the World Federation of Hemophilia, about one in 10,000 people are born with this genetic disorder. People with this condition can experience spontaneous or internal bleeding and often have painful, swollen joints due to bleeding into the joints, which in some cases can have life-threatening complications . In some individuals, haemophilia can develop after birth and is called acquired haemophilia.

Types Of Haemophilia

Haemophilia is of three types or forms, haemophilia A, B, and C.

Haemophilia A: The most common type of haemophilia, this type is caused by a deficiency in factor VIII. So, there are 13 types of clotting factors which aids the platelets to help the blood clot . Eight out of 10 people with haemophilia have haemophilia A [6].

Haemophilia B: Also called Christmas disease, this type is caused by a deficiency of factor IX .

Haemophilia C: A mild form of the disease, haemophilia C is caused by a deficiency of factor XI. This is the rarest form of haemophilia and people with this condition does not experience spontaneous bleeding .

Causes Of Haemophilia

Haemophilia occurs when you have a deficiency in clotting factors. That is, as aforementioned when you bleed, your body pools blood cells together to form a clot to stop the bleeding which is encouraged by these blood particles .

Most forms of haemophilia are inherited, however, 30 per cent of people with haemophilia have no family history of the disorder. One of the other causes of the condition is when a person’s immune system attacks clotting factors in the blood – acquired haemophilia .

Acquired haemophilia can develop due to pregnancy, cancer, autoimmune conditions and multiple scoliosis .

Symptoms Of Haemophilia

The signs of haemophilia vary depending on the individual’s level of clotting factors . If the clotting-factor level is mildly reduced, one may bleed only after surgery or trauma. If the deficiency is severe, one may experience spontaneous bleeding.

Symptoms of haemophilia are as follows :

  • Unusual bleeding after vaccinations
  • Unexplained and excessive bleeding from cuts or injuries, or after surgery or dental work
  • Large or deep bruises
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Pain, swelling or tightness in joints
  • Nosebleeds without a known cause
  • In infants, unexplained irritability

Complications Of Haemophilia

Complications of haemophilia are as follows :

  • Deep internal bleeding
  • Damage to joints
  • Severe infections
  • Reaction to clotting factor treatment

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