What Is Glanzmann’s
Glanzmann’s disease, also called
Glanzmann’s thrombasthenia, is a rare condition in which your blood doesn’t
clot properly. It’s a congenital hemorrhagic disorder, meaning that it’s a
bleeding disorder present at birth.
Glanzmann’s disease results from not
having enough glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GPIIb/IIIa), a protein usually found on
the surface of blood platelets. Platelets are small blood cells that are the
first responders in the case of a cut or other bleeding injury. They normally
clump together to form a plug in the wound and stop bleeding.
Without enough glycoprotein IIb/IIIa,
your platelets won’t be able to stick together, or clot, properly. People who
have Glanzmann’s disease have difficulty getting their blood to clot.
Glanzmann’s disease can be a serious issue during surgeries or in the case of
major injuries because a person could lose large quantities of blood.
What Causes Glanzmann’s
The genes for glycoprotein IIb/IIIa
are carried on chromosome 17 of your DNA. When there are defects in these
genes, it can lead to Glanzmann’s.
This condition is autosomal recessive.
That means both of your parents must carry the defective gene or genes for
Glanzmann’s in order for you to inherit the disease. If you have a family
history of Glanzmann’s disease or related disorders, you have an increased risk
of inheriting the disorder or passing it on to your children.
Doctors and scientists are still
researching what exactly causes Glanzmann’s disease and how it can best be
What Are the Symptoms of
Glanzmann’s disease may cause severe
or continual bleeding, even from a minor injury. People who have the disease
may also experience:
- frequent nosebleeds
- bruising easily
- bleeding gums
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- bleeding during or after surgery
Your doctor may use the following
simple blood tests to help diagnose Glanzmann’s disease:
- platelet aggregation tests: to see how well your
- complete blood count: to determine the number of
blood platelets you have
- prothrombin time: to determine how long it takes
for your blood to clot
- partial thromboplastin time: another test to see
how long it takes for your blood to clot
Your doctor may also test some of your
close relatives to check if they have Glanzmann’s disease or any of the genes
that may contribute to the disorder.
There are no specific treatments for
Glanzmann’s disease. Doctors may suggest blood transfusions, or injections of
donor blood, for patients who have severe bleeding episodes. By replacing
damaged platelets with normal platelets, people with Glanzmann’s disease often
have less bleeding and bruising.
You should avoid medications such as
ibuprofen, aspirin, blood thinners such as warfarin,
drugs. These drugs are known to prevent platelets from clotting and can cause
If you’re receiving treatment for Glanzmann’s
disease and notice that your bleeding is not stopping or is worsening, you
should talk with your doctor.
What Can I Expect If I Have
Glanzmann’s disease is a long-term
disorder with no cure. There are many dangers of continual bleeding such as
chronic anemia, neurological or psychiatric problems, and possibly death, if
enough blood is lost. People with Glanzmann’s have to be very careful when they
are injured and bleeding occurs. Women who have the condition may develop iron
deficiency anemia during their menstrual cycles.
If you begin to bruise easily or bleed
for unknown reasons, you should talk with your doctor. It may mean the disease
is becoming worse or that there’s another underlying condition that your doctor
needs to diagnose.
Can Glanzmann’s Disease Be
A blood test can help detect the genes
responsible for causing Glanzmann’s disease. If you have a family history of
any platelet disorders, it may be helpful to seek genetic counseling if you’re
planning to have children. Genetic counseling can help you determine the
potential risk of your child inheriting Glanzmann’s disease.