The day is celebrated by the World Federation of
to create awareness, improve treatment of hemophilia and
other bleeding disorders and to harness funds and volunteers for the cause.
Hemophilia is a bleeding
that occurs because the blood plasma lacks a protein necessary for
clotting. There are two types of hemophilia
- In this type of hemophilia, clotting factor VIII required to prevent clotting
is deficient. This type of the disease is more common and accounts for 85% of
In this type of hemophilia, factor IX - another clotting factor, also called
the Christmas factor, is missing. It
accounts for 15% of people affected by
In both these types of
hemophilia the severity of the disease depends on the extent of the deficiency.
Hemophilia is a genetic
caused by a defective gene on the X-chromosome. If females have a
defective gene they will be carriers, as they have two X-chromosomes, and will
pass it on to their sons.
A male with the defective gene will have the
disease, as men have only one X-chromosome. An affected man will not be able to pass on the disease to
his sons as they would inherit only
the Y genes from him.
Symptoms of hemophilia
include severe bleeding after circumcision or injury, frequent falls,
swollen and bruised joints, especially when the child is learning to walk
In sporadic cases, the disease comes to light when the
child is hurt, causing in a bleeding that refuses to stop. If there is a family
history, the child may be tested for hemophilia at birth. In the majority of
the affected cases (70%) there is a family history.
Those with moderate or
mild hemophilia may actually not bear the consequences of the disease until
they are injured or undergo a surgery. On the other hand those with the
severe form of the disease will suffer internal injuries too (besides the usual
external ones) which may result in severe bone deformity, breathing problems,
hematuria or brain damage.
WFH has been liaising
with various other groups and organizations to bridge the gap in hemophilia
care, by improving and sustaining treatment for affected people across the
More and more people need to be aware of the
disease and also the methods involved in the management. With careful
monitoring and timely medical help to avoid complications a person can live
with this severe disorder.