About Bleeding Disorders
About Bleeding Disorders

What are bleeding disorders?

Bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia and von Willebrand disease (VWD), are caused by missing or deficient blood clotting factors.1

Clotting factors are specialized proteins that circulate in the blood to control bleeding. These factors work together in a chain reaction to form clots. If even one of these factors is missing or deficient, clotting may be difficult.1

There are many types of factor deficiencies but the most common among these rare diseases are2,3:

Many clotting factors are designated by Roman numerals.1

The genetics of bleeding disorders

Bleeding disorders are conditions that, for the most part, are inherited from an affected parent.2,4 However, sometimes bleeding disorders are the result of a spontaneous genetic mutation rather than genetic inheritance, and other times they are developed later in life.2,5 Regardless, it’s nobody’s fault for having or passing along a bleeding disorder gene. While bleeding disorders cannot be prevented, they can be treated and managed.6-8

  1. What are rare clotting factor deficiencies? World Federation of Hemophilia website. https://wfh.org/about-bleeding-disorders/#rare-clotting-factor-deficiencies. Updated May 2014. Accessed August 20, 2019.
  2. What is hemophilia? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hemophilia/facts.html. Reviewed September 6, 2018. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  3. What is von Willebrand disease? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/vwd/facts.html. Reviewed August 6, 2019. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  4. How von Willebrand disease is inherited. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/vwd/inherited.html. Reviewed October 23, 2018. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  5. Hemophilia A. National Hemophilia Foundation website. https://www.hemophilia.org/bleeding-disorders-a-z/types/hemophilia-a. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  6. Treatment. World Federation of Hemophilia website. https://elearning.wfh.org/elearning-centres/hemophilia/#treatment. Updated March 2016. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  7. Treatment of VWD. World Federation of Hemophilia website. http://www1.wfh.org/publication/files/pdf-1337.pdf. Updated May 2012. Accessed August 27, 2019.
  8. Curing hemophilia. The Hemophilia, von Willebrand Disease & Platelet Disorders Handbook website: https://www.hog.org/handbook/article/1/3/curing-hemophilia. Accessed August 27, 2019.