Hemophilia is a rare blood disorder in which the blood will not clot. It is caused by a defective gene and is of two types, A and B. Because of this gene the body is not able to produce the blood protein or the clotting mechanism. So bleeding will be excessive and may happen spontaneously or because of an injury. Sometimes only a major trauma may cause the bleeding but if it’s a severe case of hemophilia then bleeding will occur without any cause at any part of the body.
Hemophilia chiefly affects men because of the X chromosome. Men have only one X chromosome and if that is carrying the defective hemophiliac gene then they will have hemophilia. If a woman has the defective chromosome she will be normal because the other X chromosome is not affected. However, because she carries the gene she can pass it onto her children. So, most cases of hemophilia occur because of the transfer of this gene from parents to children. However, some cases occur because of gene mutations.
The symptoms of hemophilia manifest as blood that will not clot, blood in urine that may or may not be visible to the human eye, and bleeding into muscles and joints and a swelling as a result. Bleeding can occur in the brain and the spinal cord, which will be accompanied by headaches and seizures and backache and perhaps paralysis.
A doctor will diagnose hemophilia after such an episode of bleeding or if the family medical history of the patient indicates it. A severe hemophiliac should always immediately get emergency medical help at any time. If it has not been diagnosed for any reason then medical help should be sought if bleeding cannot be controlled, especially after some major physical trauma. A child may exhibit such symptoms early on and can be diagnosed quickly. However, some people don’t manifest any such symptom until they are adults and perhaps undergo some surgery.
Your doctor will recommend blood tests if hemophilia is suspected and the time taken for blood to clot will be measured. Your treatment will consist of either restoring the missing clotting factor or by assisting clotting with medication. Factor replacement therapy may also be advised when necessary.
Drink plenty of fluids to reduce the incidence of blood in the urine; avoid taking aspirins or other medication unless advised by your doctor as they may interfere with the clotting of the blood. Take the hepatitis B vaccine as it will help protect you from infections.
You can lead a fairly normal life even with hemophilia if you take care of yourself and are under a doctor’s care.
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