Hemophilia (hee-mo-FEEL-ee-ya) is a bleeding disorder that effects clotting. People with hemophilia may bleed longer due to an injury. You may have bleeding into your joints which can cause joint damage or serious internal bleeding which could be fatal.
There are 2 main types of hemophilia:
- Hemophilia A (classic hemophilia): When you are missing or have low levels of a specific blood clotting protein called Factor VIII (Factor 8). Hemophilia A is the most common type of hemophilia.
- Hemophilia B (Christmas disease): When you are missing or have low levels of a specific blood clotting protein called Factor IX (Factor 9).
Hemophilia is caused by a change in one of the genes that tells your body how to make the clotting factor proteins needed to form a blood clot. Hemophilia can be passed down from parents to children, most of the time from a mother to her son. It can also happen without any family history of the disorder if you have a random change in the gene.
Hemophilia may be treated by replacing your missing blood clotting factor with factor replacement therapy. This will help your blood to clot and stop the bleeding. Factor products can be used when you have an active bleed (“on-demand”) or on a regular basis to prevent bleeds (“prophylaxis”).
There are 2 main types of factor replacement products:
- Plasma derived factor products made from human blood
- Recombinant factor products that aren’t made from human blood
There are new medications available to treat hemophilia. These medications can be injected instead of infused to help prevent bleeds.