Hemophilia Awareness Month occurs each March, which remains important since most people continue to have inadequate knowledge about bleeding disorders. Yet, around the world, approximately one out of every 100 people has a bleeding disorder. Bleeding disorders include the best known one of hemophilia, as well as lesser-known bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand disease and factor XI deficiency.
For someone with a bleeding disorder, the blood doesn’t clot properly, resulting in longer bleeding times and, for some, spontaneous bleeding. Hemophilia is linked to men in the minds of most people – and for good reason. Far more men than women are born with this bleeding disorder. However, bleeding disorders do affect women too. A small number of women have hemophilia. Although a different bleeding disorder – called von Willebrand disease – is much more common in females who have a bleeding disorder. Von Willebrand disease, which is generally milder than hemophilia, occurs equally in males and females.
For women, the diagnosis of hemophilia or another bleeding disorder tends to take longer or be plagued with years of misdiagnosis. Approximately 1% of women in the United States have an undiagnosed bleeding disorder. For women, heavy menstrual cycles can be a telling symptom of von Willebrand disease.
Bleeding disorders continue to pose significant health risks for those afflicted; however, today’s medical advances also mean that it’s never been a more hopeful time in this field. It’s important to work with a specialty pharmacy to provide the ongoing support and care that a bleeding disorder requires for the best possible health outcomes.