Our Experts Give You Answers About von Willebrand Disease

What is von Willebrand’s Disease?

Von Willebrand disease is a relatively common bleeding disorder in the general population, affecting males and females equally. Often patients with von Willebrand disease present with excessive skin bruising, nose bleeding, heavy menstrual cycles and bleeding after surgical procedures or during labor/delivery/postpartum period.

How common is von Willebrand disease?

Von Willebrand disease is considered the most common inherited bleeding disorder worldwide, affecting up to an estimated 1% to 2% of the general population.

Because the symptoms of von Willebrand disease are often not recognized by patients or misinterpreted by physicians, von Willebrand disease is thought to be significantly underdiagnosed in the population.

Does von Willebrand disease affect only men?

Von Willebrand disease is not a sex-linked disorder and affects men and women equally. The symptoms of von Willebrand disease are usually more obvious in women because of menstruation and labor/delivery.

Do people with bleeding disorders bleed faster than people without bleeding disorders?

People with bleeding disorders do not bleed faster. They often bleed longer because their bodies are not able to form a stable blood clot. Because the clot they do form is unstable, they may experience re-bleeding.

Can people with bleeding disorders bleed to death from minor injuries?

Minor bleeding is usually not life-threatening in people with bleeding disorders.

Should people with bleeding disorders avoid regular exercise or sports?

No. Exercise helps keep your body healthy. Healthy muscles and ligaments can prevent or reduce the risk of injury or joint damage. Being overweight places added stress on your joints.

It is important to develop your exercise plan with the IHTC physical therapist to reduce the risk of injury—start slowly. Contact sports such as football or wrestling are not recommended. Set realistic goals, and have fun!