March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month and LifeSource is sharing important information about these disorders and how you can help.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 20,000 Americans suffer from bleeding disorders such as hemophilia . Although these disorders are rare, they can create a host of medical complications including bleeding into the joints and muscles . People who suffer from these disorders are often unable to synthesize important factors in their blood, which influence clotting and help to heal wounds and injuries .
There two most common disorders are:
Hemophilia and Von Willebrand Disease
There are three different types of hemophilia :
- Hemophilia A is the most common type of hemophilia. People with this disorder do not produce enough of the clotting Factor VIII. Most people with hemophilia A suffer from bleeding into the large joints including the knees and hips.
- Hemophilia B is commonly known as the “Christmas” disease, named for Stephen Christmas, who was the first diagnosed with hemophilia B in 1952 . Sufferers of this disease often experience uncontrolled or spontaneous bleeding due to their inability to produce a clotting factor known as “Factor IX.” There are varying degrees of severity .
- Hemophilia Cis also known as Factor XI deficiency. It is caused by a deficiency in clotting factor known as “Factor XI.” It is inherited differently than Hemophilia A or B. As a result, it can be seen in both male and female children (though both form A & B are mostly seen in males due to the way in which the condition is inherited) .
-Von Willebrand Disease
Von Willebrand disease is a bleeding disorder which can cause either low levels of an essential blood clotting factor (Von Willebrand Factor or VWF) or an abnormal form of it. This can results in several complications including excessive bleeds from minor injuries such as nose bleeds, easy bruising, heavy menstrual bleeding in women and longer than normal bleeding following surgery . Sufferers of VWD are often diagnosed with Type 1, Type 2 or Type 3. Type 3 is often the most severe and requires careful monitoring and treatment .
Why Blood Clotting Is Important
Normally, our bodies respond to injury by producing a plug or “clot” which staunches the flow of blood from a cut or injury. The process heavily involves platelets, a type of blood cell that will go to a site of injury and stick to the break in the blood vessel wall. The platelet will then send out signals to other platelets. The activated platelets come together along with protein fibers and create a type of “fibrin” shield that acts quickly to stop the flow of blood. This is followed by another series of chemical reactions involving blood clotting factors in which an actual clot is formed.
How You Can Help
Individuals who suffer from various forms of blood disorders can often manage the symptoms with treatment. Treatments often include prescription products that contain needed clotting factors or encourage the body’s own clotting response. Many of these products are derived from donated blood . However, those with bleeding disorders can often develop a resistance to commercially created clotting factor products that prevent the products from working effectively . It is important that a steady supply of safe and reliable blood is available for patients suffering the ill effects of a bleeding disorder. By being a regular donor, you’re helping patients with bleeding disorders live healthier and more fulfilling lives.
Book your appointment to donate by calling 877.543.3768 or click here.
PREPARE FOR YOUR DONATION • EAT WELL • STAY HYDRATED • BRING ID
 The Centers for Disease Control. Hemophilia: Data & Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hemophilia/data.html. Accessed February 12, 2018.
 Drugs.com. Hemophilia Guide: Causes & Symptoms. https://www.drugs.com/health-guide/hemophilia.html. Accessed February 12, 2018.
 The Heart Foundation. How to Reduce Your Risk. http://www.theheartfoundation.org/heart-disease-facts/reducing-your-risk/ Accessed January 30, 2017.
CDC. Hemophilia: Data & Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hemophilia/inhibitors.html . Accessed February 22, 2018.