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The Truth about Haemophilia Leave a comment

You are working with young people…one of them cuts himself. It’s only a small cut but he is a haemophiliac…what happens now?
What is haemophilia?
Haemophilia is a condition in which one or more of the clotting factors in the blood is defective. It is an hereditary condition and affects males more so than females. This can cause excessive bleeding, particularly internal bleeding into the joints.
Can the sufferer bleed to death?
Many people believe that a haemophiliac will bleed to death from the slightest injury but this is nothing more than a myth. Their cuts and scratches may bleed a bit longer but, under normal circumstances, this will not be fatal. Obviously, as with anyone else, they may bleed to death from major injury.
What is a ‘bleed’?
People who suffer from haemophilia bleed internally into the joints. This means that the blood remains in the body but fills the cavities around the joints. This can be treated by the injection of a clotting agent. Many people suffer from joint conditions such as arthritis as a result of these ‘bleeds’.
How does haemophilia affect general lifestyle?
People with haemophilia can live a relatively normal life. They are able to work, play sport, travel, and anything else they choose. Obviously, it would be extremely unwise of them to engage in employment or activities that have a generally high rate of injury. As with anyone else, precautions should be taken when engaging in activities such as horseriding, motorcycle riding and so forth.
Can haemophilia be treated?
It used to be common for a person with haemophilia to die young but, with the modern treatments currently available, haemophiliacs can live a normal lifespan. Internal bleeding is treated by the injection of a clotting factor. This is normally done by a doctor or at a hospital but people can be taught to administer this themselves. Children who suffer severe haemophilia are treated with a preventative dose of blood clotting products to try to avoid bleeds.
Basically, the condition of haemophilia is a genetic condition which affects mainly males. It is characterised by internal bleeds that can be treated by injections of a blood clotting factor into the bloodstream. It affects all races and socio-economic groups. It can lead to arthritis and chronic pain because of the bleeding into the joints.
Copyright 2006 Anne Wolski

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