Hemophilia A is a condition where a person is unable to clot blood like a normal person due to lack of protein. This condition makes the body unable to stop bleeding, both bleeding that occurs outside and inside the body.
In hemophilia A, the body does not have enough protein for blood clotting called factor VIII. In fact, this is very necessary for the body to make blood clots and stop bleeding.
Hemophilia A can manifest clinically as mild, moderate, or severe hemophilia, depending on how many patients have factor VIII. To note, hemophilia A can decrease in family lines. Usually, hemophilia A can be diagnosed in infants, toddlers, or children.
Causes of Hemophilia A
Hemophilia A originates from gene error. A person can inherit it from parents or can occur if there is a change in the gene before someone is born. This change is called mutation.
There is a dangerous and rare form of hemophilia A that is not inherited. This is called acquired hemophilia and can be related to pregnancy, cancer, or the use of certain drugs. However, no cause can be found in most of these acquired cases.
Symptoms of Hemophilia A
The main symptom is bleeding longer than many normal people and easy bruising. The following are a few examples:
- Nosebleeds for no apparent reason.
- Heavy bleeding from small injuries.
- Long-term bleeding in the mouth after the tooth has been removed.
- Bleeding again from a wound or injury that has stopped.
- Blood in urine or stool.
- The occurrence of a large bruise.
To note, bleeding can also occur in the body, such as in the joints. If your child experiences muscle or joint bleeding when it is hit, then the child will complain of pain especially when he is moving, and this usually occurs in areas of muscles or joints that are swollen.
With this disease, even a small bump on the head can become serious. If that happens, watch out for signs of bleeding in the brain:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- sudden weakness or running problems
Verdict of Hemophilia A
Does your child easily bruise or bleed more than usual when suffering a minor injury? If so, immediately see a doctor to analyze whether this is a sign of hemophilia A. Meanwhile, for infants younger than 6 months it will be difficult to diagnose hemophilia, because the baby does not do things that make him bleed.
However, after the baby starts moving, crawling, and crashing into something, you may see bruises, especially in places like the stomach, chest, and back.
At that time, usually the doctor will ask:
- What causes lumps, bruises, and bleeding?
- How long does the bleeding last?
- Does your child take medication?
- Are there other medical problems that you have?
- Does the family medical history have problems with blood clotting?
To get a complete diagnosis, the doctor will do a blood test to find out how long it will take for the blood to clot and to see the causative factors for clotting. The examination includes:
- Complete blood count (CBC).
- Prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (PTT). Both of these tests check how long it takes for the blood to clot.
- Factor VIII and IX tests. This level of measurement is to determine the clotting factors. Factor VIII is for hemophilia A. Factor IX is for hemophilia B, another type of hemophilia.
Questions for Doctors
If you or your child are diagnosed with hemophilia, you will probably have lots of questions for the doctor, such as:
- How often do you need to see a doctor?
- How long is the duration of abnormal bleeding in a small wound?
- Are there some more serious symptoms? How to handle it?
- Are there over-the-counter medicines that should or should not be used?
- What medications do doctors recommend?
- How to keep children safe? Do you need to limit its activities?
- Do you need to let teachers and other health care providers know about their condition?
- Is this disease always passed down?
Treatment of Hemophilia A
- If you have hemophilia A, you will get factor VIII concentrate that enters the bloodstream through factor IV. Factor VIII can come from human blood or from a laboratory.
- Adynovate has been found to help control bleeding in adults and children over the age of 12 years. Adynovate can be used both in prevention efforts and as a drug that helps blood clots and reduces the frequency of factor VIII infusion needed.
- Clotting factor VIII comes from pigs which have been approved by the FDA to stop bleeding in people with acquired hemophilia A.
- If you have severe hemophilia A, you may need routine care to avoid bleeding. If your case is mild, treatment does not have to be routine but only when needed.
- Replacement therapy works. In many cases, there is a 20% chance the body will reject it. In this case, the doctor can try various sources for factor VIII, or try different doses.
- Antifibrinolytic drugs such as tranexamic acid and epsilon aminocaproic acid are oral drugs that are sometimes used as a substitute therapy to help maintain blood clots.
Treatment of Hemophilia A
You can do many things to overcome hemophilia. In addition to following all the doctor’s recommendations, you can also do a few things:
- Handle injuries properly. Minor wounds, scratches and blisters need to be cleaned and then pressed and bandaged.
- Certain medications, such as aspirin, can slow blood clotting, so discuss with your doctor about what drugs you should or shouldn’t take.
- Stay active. If your child has hemophilia A, try to stay active. Exercise makes them stronger and also helps manage weight. Overweight body increases the risk of bleeding.
If you experience mild hemophilia, your doctor may recommend using a product called desmopressin acetate to stop bleeding from small wounds. This can be given intravenously, by injection or in the form of nasal spray.
Tell the health care provider that you (or your child) have hemophilia. Remind them before you schedule any procedure. You may need to take additional drugs to help with blood clots first.
Prevention of Hemophilia A
As much as possible not to do activities that can cause injury. In addition, you can also provide protection to children by using knee pads, elbows or helmets while playing. Check the house and yard for furniture or play equipment with sharp angles that will endanger the child.
If your child has hemophilia, teach him to know when and how to deal with injuries. This must be done to foster confidence and eliminate fear.