Hemophilia is a genetic condition that prevents blood from clotting the way it should normally do. The major cause is the lack of enough proteins in the blood, which typically promote clotting. This means a person with the condition may bleed for a longer time after an injury.

World Hemophilia Day, which is observed on April 17, aims to spread awareness about the disease and other inherited blood-related diseases like the Von Willebrand disease.

Causes of Hemophilia

Hemophilia is passed down through generations. The disease earned royal status in the 19th and 20th centuries as it only prevalently affected the descendants of aristocratic families in England, Germany, Russia and Spain.

But that's not to say hemophilia is only hereditary. Some families may not have a history of the disease and yet some members might develop it, typically through carrier females from other families. A baby born with hemophilia is the first one in the family to be affected by a mutation in the gene for the clotting factor.

People with hemophilia have low levels of clotting factor VIII (8) or factor IX (9), CDC said. The time of its onset varies from person to person. Some may experience it in middle age, while others experience it in the elderly stage. Some young women in the later days of their pregnancy or after giving birth also suffer from the condition.

What are the symptoms of Hemophilia?

Apart from excessive bleeding and bruising, here are some common symptoms of hemophilia:

  • The bruising after an injury becomes relatively larger, which also signals significant bleeding under the skin.
  • The affected person starts bleeding for no apparent reason, like having a bloody nose more often.
  • The bleeding can concentrate on the joints too, which will cause pain, swelling and stiffness, particularly in the knees, ankles and elbows.
  • Blood in urine and stool due to over bleeding in the gastrointestinal or urinary tract.

How is it diagnosed?

Hemophilia can only be diagnosed through blood tests that measure clotting factor levels. The condition is treated by boosting the gaps in the clotting factor levels.

Hemophilia is a blood disorder in which patients do not have enough platelets or clotting factors in their blood.
Hemophilia is a blood disorder in which patients do not have enough platelets or clotting factors in their blood. This is a diagram of the elements that make up blood. National Institutes of Health