Haemophilia is a genetic disorder, mostly affecting men, that results in the blood’s inability to coagulate properly. Many of those with haemophilia experience bleeding that does not stop when it should. There are several types of haemophilia, with haemophilia A being the most common. Since the blood plasma does not clot, a haemophiliac will bleed for long periods of time even at the most minor injury. In addition to major blood loss, many injuries will not heal entirely. Some cases can be fatal, especially with internal head injuries. Haemophilia is more likely to occur in males because it is a recessive disorder that is sex-linked. Females are typically carriers who show no symptoms.
The symptoms of haemophilia will depend on the severity of the case as well as the type (A, B or C). The most prominent symptom is bleeding that continues longer than it should, or a wound that stops bleeding and begins again later. If the joints begin bleeding, permanent problems may result. Unfortunately many children do not show signs of haemophilia in many circumstances. Boys may bleed more than usual during circumcision or children learning to walk may display abnormal bruises and sometimes swelling. Adults may show initial symptoms while having a routine dental procedure.
Complications may result if haemophilia is left untreated. Internal bleeding can lead to serious consequences, like swelling or numbness of the muscles. Arthritis is a common symptom for those who experience joint damage. Bleeding in the skull can result in hemorrhage, which can be fatal. It is important for haemophiliacs to seek treatment as soon as they notice there may be a problem.
Though there is no cure for haemophilia, there are ways to help treat it. Some people with the condition have regular infusions of a substance that helps blood to clot. Some patients look into gene therapy as well. There are also ways to prevent some of the symptoms of haemophilia. For instance, some people find that all they need to do is exercise each day to make the joints stronger. Increasing flexibility of the elbows, knees and ankles can help reduce pain caused by blood buildup.