Is a Bleeding Disorder?
A bleeding disorder is
a condition that affects the way your blood normally clots. The clotting
process, also known as coagulation, changes blood from a liquid to a solid. When
you’re injured, your blood normally begins to clot to prevent a massive loss of
blood. Sometimes, certain conditions prevent blood from clotting properly, which
can result in heavy or prolonged bleeding.
Bleeding disorders can cause abnormal bleeding both outside and
inside the body. Some disorders can drastically increase the amount of blood
leaving your body. Others cause bleeding to occur under the skin or in vital
organs, such as the brain.
Causes a Bleeding Disorder?
Bleeding disorders often develop when the blood can’t clot
properly. For blood to clot, your body needs blood proteins called clotting
factors and blood cells called platelets. Normally, platelets clump together to
form a plug at the site of a damaged or injured blood vessel. The clotting
factors then come together to form a fibrin clot. This keeps the platelets in place
and prevents blood from flowing out of the blood vessel.
In people with bleeding disorders, however, the clotting factors
or platelets don’t work the way they should or are in short supply. When the
blood doesn’t clot, excessive or prolonged bleeding can occur. It can also lead
to spontaneous or sudden bleeding in your muscles, joints, or other parts of your
The majority of bleeding disorders are inherited, which means
they’re passed from a parent to their child. However, some disorders may develop
as a result of other medical conditions, such as liver disease.
Bleeding disorders may also be caused by:
- a low red blood cell count
- a vitamin K deficiency
- side effects from certain medications
Medications that can interfere with the clotting of the blood are
of Bleeding Disorders
Bleeding disorders can be inherited or acquired. Inherited
disorders are passed down through genetics. Acquired disorders can develop or
spontaneously occur later in life. Some bleeding disorders can result in severe
bleeding following an accident or injury. In other disorders, heavy bleeding
can happen suddenly and for no reason.
There are numerous different bleeding disorders, but the
following are the most common ones:
- Hemophilia A and B
are conditions that occur when there are low levels of clotting factors in your
blood. It causes heavy or unusual bleeding into the joints. Though hemophilia is
rare, it can have life-threatening complications.
II, V, VII, X, or XII deficiencies are bleeding disorders related to
blood clotting problems or abnormal bleeding problems.
- von Willebrand's disease is the most common inherited
bleeding disorder. It develops when the blood lacks von Willebrand factor,
which helps the blood to clot.
Are the Symptoms of a Bleeding Disorder?
The symptoms can vary depending on the specific type of bleeding
disorder. However, the main signs include:
- unexplained and easy bruising
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- frequent nosebleeds
- excessive bleeding from small cuts or an injury
- bleeding into joints
Schedule an appointment with your doctor right away if you
have one or more of
these symptoms. Your doctor can diagnose your condition and help to prevent
complications associated with certain blood disorders.
Is a Bleeding Disorder Diagnosed?
To diagnose a bleeding disorder, your doctor will ask you about
your symptoms and medical history. They will also perform a physical
examination. During your appointment, make sure to mention:
- any medical conditions you currently have
- any medications or supplements you may be taking
- any recent falls or trauma
- how often you experience the bleeding
- how long the bleeding lasts
- what you were doing before the bleeding began
After gathering this information, your doctor will run blood tests
to make a proper diagnosis. These tests may include:
Are Bleeding Disorders Treated?
Treatment options vary depending on the type of bleeding disorder
and its severity. Though treatments can’t cure bleeding disorders, they can
help relieve the symptoms associated with certain disorders.
Your doctor may prescribe iron supplements to replenish the
amount of iron in your body if you have significant blood loss. A low iron
level can result in iron
deficiency anemia. This condition can make you feel weak, tired, and dizzy.
You may need a blood transfusion if symptoms don’t improve with iron
A blood transfusion replaces any lost blood with blood taken from
a donor. The donor blood has to match your blood type to prevent complications.
This procedure can only be done in the hospital.
Some bleeding disorders may be treated with topical products or
nasal sprays. Other disorders, including hemophilia, can be treated with factor
replacement therapy. This involves injecting clotting factor concentrates into your
bloodstream. These injections can prevent or control excessive bleeding.
You can also get fresh frozen plasma transfusions if you lack
certain clotting factors. Fresh frozen plasma contains factors V and VIII,
which are two important proteins that help with blood clotting. These
transfusions must be done in a hospital.
Are the Possible Complications of Bleeding Disorders?
Most complications associated with bleeding disorders can be
prevented or controlled with treatment. However, it’s important to get
treatment as soon as possible. Complications often occur when bleeding
disorders are treated too late.
Common complications of bleeding disorders include:
- bleeding in the intestines
- bleeding into the brain
- bleeding into the joints
- joint pain
Complications can also arise if the disorder is severe or causes
excessive blood loss. Bleeding disorders can be particularly dangerous for
women, especially if they’re not treated quickly. Untreated bleeding disorders increase
the risk of excessive bleeding during childbirth, a miscarriage, or an abortion.
Women with bleeding disorders may also experience very heavy menstrual
bleeding. This can lead to anemia,
a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells
to carry oxygen to your tissues. Anemia can cause weakness, shortness of breath,
It’s important to call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms
of a bleeding disorder. Getting prompt treatment will help prevent any