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Childhood cuts and scrapes are normally nothing more than a rite of passage of childhood. A wet paper towel, a little Neosporin, a Scooby-Doo Band-Aid, a magic kiss from mom and the injury is good as new and the child quickly off to the next adventure -- and scrape.
Unfortunately, normal bumps and bruises aren’t quite so easy for those diagnosed with hemophilia. Normally inherited, hemophilia is a very rare bleeding disorder that renders blood unable to clot normally. As a result, even the smallest of childhood -- or adulthood -- bumps, bruises, and scrapes can be quite serious and may become life-threatening.
Most of us are born with proteins, or clotting factors, that interact with platelets, enabling them to clot together to stop bleeding. If the proteins are absent, or limited, then the platelets are left unable to do their job properly and bleeding -- even from minor cuts and scrapes -- may continue unchecked. In addition to free bleeding from routine cuts and scrapes, those with hemophilia run a greater risk of internal injury and bleed, causing damage to joints and well as internal organs.
The two most common forms of hemophilia are hemophilia A and hemophilia B. About 90 percent of all persons with hemophilia have hemophilia A. Persons with hemophilia A are either missing, or have lower levels than normal, of clotting factor VIII. (8)
Hemophilia A is also known as antihemophilic factor, thromboplastinogen, factor VIII deficiency, and classic hemophilia. Those diagnosed with hemophilia B either have low levels or missing clotting factor IX (9), or autoprothrombin or factor IX deficiency. Although it’s certainly not a present that you want to receive, hemophilia B is sometimes referred to as Christmas disease.
While less common, it’s possible to acquire hemophilia. This occurs when your body creates antibodies that turn against the clotting factors rendering them unable to perform their job.
While women are carriers of the hemophilia gene, it’s uncommon for a woman to actually have inherited hemophilia and most hemophilia patients are men.