March is Hemophilia Awareness Month, put in place to raise awareness and education about bleeding disorders with a larger audience.1 Bleeding disorders are classified as a group of maladies that affect the body’s blood clotting process.1 “Bleeding disorder” is a general term for genetic defects in clotting factors that leads to episodes of prolonged bleeding. These bleeding episodes often occur spontaneously or a result of injury. Hemophilia’s main differentiator is how it affects an individual.
Various types of hemophilia exist such as Hemophilia A, Hemophilia B, von Willebrand disease (vWD) and other factor deficiencies. Hemophilia A is the most common form of bleeding disorder that affects approximately one in 5,000 male births, while Hemophilia B affects one in 25,000 male births.2 Hemophilia affects more men than women, with no differentiation between races. Von Willebrand disease is often referred to as a woman’s disease due to how much of the female population is affected, however this too is a misconception as it affects a male population as well.
Treatment of hemophilia is difficult for all individuals affected (both patients and caregivers) as no cure exists for the disease. While it is a manageable disease, it is one that comes with a price: overall treatment of hemophilia is extremely costly as individuals must undergo lifelong treatment. A holistic approach to treatment has been adopted by Hemophilia Treatment Centers across the country. Hemophilia Treatment Centers focus on every facet of the person and their family, which makes it the most sensible form of treatment for people with bleeding disorders.3
To learn more about National Hemophilia Awareness Month or to find out about available assistance, visit the National Hemophilia Foundation website.
Josephine Di Laura