Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month

A doctor examining vials of blood that are being used to test for bleeding disorders.March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. A bleeding disorder is a condition in which blood cannot clot properly. This can lead to either too much clotting, significantly increasing your risk of experiencing conditions such as heart attack or stroke, or too little clotting, which can lead to excessive bleeding.

The two most common bleeding disorders are hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Hemophilia slows the blood clotting process. It is inherited genetically and more commonly affects people assigned male at birth than people assigned female at birth, occurring in one in every 5,000 male births in the United States.  The disorder very rarely develops in women.

Von Willebrand disease is a much more common bleeding disorder than hemophilia. Similarly, it is an inherited condition, but generally causes milder symptoms. It can also affect both men and women. People with this disease lack a functioning von Willebrand factor, which helps the blood form clots; as a result, they are unable to form blood clots as easily as other people.

In the case of both hemophilia and von Willebrand disease, early diagnosis is best for effective treatment outcomes. For people with hemophilia, a common treatment is to replace the missing blood clotting factor. People with von Willebrand disease may not require treatment at all if their symptoms are mild; however, if treatment is needed, common options include medications that increase the amount of von Willebrand factor in the blood or infusions of blood factor concentrates.

If you experience symptoms of a bleeding disorder, it’s important to get diagnosed as soon as possible; even if your symptoms are mild, talking to a doctor can help you avoid potential risk factors that may worsen them. You can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (718) 670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.