An Overview of Hemophilia

Hemophilia is a rare bleeding condition that results from reduced levels of clotting factor VIII (8) (FVIII; hemophilia A) or clotting factor IX (9) (FIX; hemophilia B). In the case of severe hemophilia, your body does not make any factor VIII or FIX.

Normal blood clotting is a complex process that involves many proteins, and some of these proteins are called clotting factors. A decreased amount or absence of one of these clotting factors, like factor VIII or factor IX, may impact the clotting process.

People with hemophilia often can’t form a normal blood clot to stop bleeding and therefore bleed for a longer period of time than people without hemophilia; however, they do not bleed faster than anyone else. People with hemophilia can experience increased bleeding, which may occur spontaneously (without a known cause) or following an injury.

Bleeding can happen anywhere in the body but most often it occurs in joints, muscles, and soft tissues. Bleeding into the joints and muscles is one of the distinctive signs of hemophilia. Minor cuts and scrapes are usually not of great concern for people with hemophilia.

Treatment for hemophilia has really advanced over the past 20 years. Today, people with hemophilia can have a normal life span if they use preventative therapies and treat bleeding episodes when they occur.