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About Hemophilia

If you’ve heard the word ‘hemophilia’, a lot may be running through your mind. What is it? Can I give it to my child? If my child has it, can their life be ‘normal’? Arm yourself with the facts. The more you know, the better you’ll understand how it may affect you or your loved one over the course of your lives.

What is hemophilia?

Hemophilia is a genetic (inherited) disorder in which a person’s blood cannot properly clot. Because of this, bleeding lasts for a longer time. Minor cuts and scrapes are usually not serious. But, if there is a large cut or bleeding happens inside the body, this can be serious. Keep reading

Frequency of Hemophilia

Hemophilia is very rare. Only 1 in 10,000 people worldwide – and about 3,000 people in Canada – have hemophilia A, the most common form. Because of the way the gene is passed on in families, the most severe forms of hemophilia usually affect males. Keep reading

See how hemophilia is inherited

Testing for Hemophilia

To diagnose hemophilia, a person needs to be tested. These tests will also show how severe it is. If there’s a family history, testing can be done soon after birth. In 30% of cases, a child is born with hemophilia when there is no family history. Testing will be done if symptoms of a bleeding problem are seen. Women who think they may be carriers for hemophilia may also choose to be tested. A carrier is a woman who may not show any symptoms, but carries the gene mutation for hemophilia and can pass it on to her children. Keep reading

Hemophilia A, B & C

There are proteins in the blood called clotting factors that do just that – clot blood. Clotting is needed to stop bleeding after an injury. People with hemophilia A are missing or have too little of a clotting factor called Factor VIII (Factor Eight). This is the most common form. Two less common types are hemophilia B, which involves Factor IX (Factor Nine), and hemophilia C, which is a milder form involving Factor XI (Factor Eleven). Keep reading

Genetics: The Basics

To understand how hemophilia is inherited within families, it’s helpful to learn some of the basics of genetics. This includes how the hemophilia gene is passed on, the likelihood of this, why boys are usually affected, and what it means to be a carrier. Keep reading

What Causes Hemophilia?

Hemophilia is caused by a problem (or mutation) with the gene(s) responsible for making clotting factors. As a result, people with hemophilia bleed for a longer time after an injury. Hemophilia is passed on through genes located on the X chromosome, which explains why males are much more likely to get it. Keep reading

Inhibitors / Antibodies

To help prevent bleeding, people with hemophilia can be given infusions (injections directly into the blood) of the clotting factor they lack. In most cases, this treatment works well. But sometimes, a person’s immune system develops inhibitors, which are neutralizing antibodies that try to fight the treatment. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help manage inhibitors. Keep reading



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