What is Hemophilia

Hemophilia is a hereditary genetic disorder, wherein, the person in whom the ailment is seen suffers from irregularities with regard to coagulation or clotting of blood when he gets hurt. The term, ‘hemophilia’ is derived from the Greek words, ‘Haima’ meaning blood and ‘philia’ meaning love. Two main types of hemophilia are Hemophilia A and Hemophilia B. Hemophilia A is the most common form of Hemophilia. It would be worth noting that the cases of hemophilia are found more commonly in men as compared to women. The reason for this can be said to lie in the fact that hemophilia is an X chromosome disorder. Since women have two X chromosomes, it is very difficult to find two defective genes in them, thereby, reducing the chances of hemophilia being reported in women. Due to the occurrence of hemophilia B in the European Royalty, it was referred to as ‘Royal Disease’ in the olden times.

The problem with clotting occurs when the coagulation factors are not present in sufficient amounts in a person. A person, suffering from hemophilia has a low count of the factors VIII and IX, leading to slow clotting of blood in case of an injury. The main symptoms of hemophilia are continuous bleeding and re-bleeding from the same injury. People, who have severe forms of hemophilia, suffer from internal bleeding and bleeding into joint spaces. They are the ones who are at the highest risk from this ailment, as it can lead to permanent disfigurement of the organ if treatment is not provided at the earliest. In some cases, the bleeding happens into the muscles and the tissues too, thereby, increasing risk factor to people suffering from this ailment.

In people having mild hemophilia, symptoms are not noticeable easily and can come into light only when the person meets with an accident. Thus, a patient can be diagnosed for hemophilia only in case he has a family history of the disease or abnormal prolonged bleeding is seen in him. In kids, excessive and continuous bleeding after any dental procedure can be a sign of hemophilia. Sometimes, the deficiency of vitamin K leads to symptoms similar to that of hemophilia.

It is disheartening to note that hemophilia cannot be cured completely, but with the use of injection of clotting factor VIII and IX, the problem caused due to the ailment can be reduced. Gene therapy has also resulted in success in treatment of hemophilia in the recent times. With better medical facilities at present, a patient with hemophilia is said to have a life expectancy of 50-60 years.