The Most Common Inherited Bleeding Condition
Von Willebrand disease is the most common bleeding condition in the US. Anywhere from 0.6-1.3% of people may be affected by the condition, although many people may not realize it unless they are tested. Von Willebrand disease can affect both men and women.
Von Willebrand factor is an important protein in your blood that is needed to make blood clot. Von Willebrand disease is a bleeding disorder in which you do not make enough von Willebrand factor, or the protein is not formed correctly. With either issue, abnormal bleeding symptoms can occur.
Von Willebrand factor plays several roles in the body. For example, it binds to a protein called factor VIII (8) which is needed for blood to clot normally. This binding gives factor VIII protection from being broken down too rapidly in the blood. Von Willebrand factor also helps platelets stick to each other and the lining of an injured blood vessel. This process allows a blood clot to form and stick (essentially plugging the injured blood vessel).
When a person’s von Willebrand factor is changed or if the protein is not available in sufficient quantities, he or she may have trouble forming a clot after an injury and may bleed for longer than another person with the same injury. It’s important to note that someone with von Willebrand disease doesn’t bleed faster than someone without von Willebrand disease.
SEVERITY OF VON WILLEBRAND DISEASE
The frequency and severity of bleeding symptoms with von Willebrand disease are usually related to the type of von Willebrand disease a patient has. Type 1 is the most common form of the condition and patients tend to have more mild bleeding symptoms; many patients will not even know they have the condition unless tested. Type 2 is the second most common form, and patients often have a moderately severe form of von Willebrand disease. Type 3 is the most severe form of the disease, but it is also the rarest.
Learn more about the Causes of Von willebrand disease