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Myths and Facts About Hemophilia

There are many blood disorders out there, all of which affect your body very differently. Hemophilia is just one of these blood disorders, and it’s a very scary diagnosis if you don’t know much about it or what to expect. You may have heard things about it through the grapevine, but how do you know what’s true and what’s not?

At Hunterdon Oncology Hematology, our skilled team of doctors are experts in the care of blood disorders, and they can help you figure out a treatment plan after you’ve been diagnosed.

What is hemophilia?

Hemophilia is a disorder of the blood that results in impaired clotting. It’s usually an inherited problem, meaning someone else in your family had the same disorder. Hemophilia is under the broad umbrella of blood disorders, but its symptoms and treatment are unique to this specific problem.

Hemophilia is caused by a mutation in your genes that affects the production of clotting factors. This either means that your clotting proteins are completely missing, or they’re not working the way they should. This leads to bleeding that’s usually spontaneous, along with prolonged bleeding after an injury.

Your blood has proteins called clotting factors that allow your blood to coagulate, so you don’t bleed significantly with a minor injury. However, if you have hemophilia, your blood is deficient in either factor 8 or factor 9. These factors are vital to the ability of your blood to clot, so it leads to increased bleeding. Severity of your disorder depends on the level of these factors in your blood.

Weeding out the myths 

Much like any other disorder or disease, hemophilia comes with its own misconceptions, most of which are completely false. However, if you don’t know how to pick out the myths, this disorder can seem very scary. Here are a few of the common myths associated with hemophilia, and the facts that disprove them:

Myth: Hemophilia only affects males

FACT: Although this disorder is traditionally a disease that affects boys more than girls, it doesn’t mean girls can’t have it. In fact, there are many women and girls who suffer from hemophilia, or who carry the gene for the disorder. 

Myth: Hemophilia disorders are all the same

FACT: Hemophilia has two main types — either a deficiency in factor 8 or factor 9. The severity of your disorder greatly depends on which type you have. For example, if you have severe hemophilia, your clotting factors could be nearly non-existent, meaning you’re bleeding even where you can’t see it. However, in less severe cases, you might not have any symptoms until you suffer an injury.

Myth: You’ll bleed to death from a cut

FACT: This is simply not true. Hemophilia doesn’t make you bleed any quicker than someone who doesn’t have it, though you’ll definitely bleed longer than someone without the disorder. Routine care for cuts such as pressure and bandages is usually all you’ll need for a minor cut or injury. 

Myth: You can’t have a normal life

FACT: You might think you can’t do the same things as everyone else if you’re dealing with hemophilia; however, this isn’t true at all. You’ll still be able to enjoy most activities such as playing sports or traveling. By working with our team of doctors, you’ll understand how to do your favorite things while still keeping yourself safe.

The truth is, although hemophilia is a scary diagnosis, you’re still able to live a normal life. Our doctors offer not only a plethora of knowledge about this disorder, but also treatment options to  cut down on bleeding episodes. Treatment usually involves replacing the missing clotting factor in your blood, either prophylactically or when you end up with a cut or injury that causes bleeding.

If you’ve been diagnosed with hemophilia and would like to learn more about it, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461 to make an appointment. 

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