Think Tank

Men’s Health – Haemophilia

Haemophilia - What is it? Why does it affect men? Symptoms

Often considered as a hereditary bleeding disorder, haemophilia causes bruising and severe internal bleeding into the joints of the body. It can be a life threatening disease if not treated soon enough. The condition is more common among men than women, and develops at the earliest stage of one’s life.

Haemophilia - What is it? Why does it affect men? Symptoms

Why does it affect men?

Now let’s take a look at why haemophilia affects men the most. Men possess a single X chromosome and a single Y chromosome whereas females possess 2 X chromosomes. The X chromosome has several genes that are not found in the Y chromosome which automatically means that all males will have only one copy of the X chromosome and women will have 2 copies. As a result, men tend to develop haemophilia much faster if they have an X chromosome that comes with a mutation in factor 1X or factor VIII.

Symptoms

Excessive Bleeding

Excessive bleeding is the most common symptom of haemophilia. For men, they tend to bleed excessively after circumcision and for other children it isn’t that obvious unless they are bleeding too much after surgery or an accident.
Other signs that count as excessive bleeding include:

  • Bleeding excessively around the mouth area after a cutting or losing a tooth
  • Bleeding excessively from small injuries or bleeding non-stop for a while
  • Internal bleeding – includes blood in the stools, bruises inside the muscles, or blood in the urine
  • Bleeding in the joints is also very common. It could happen without any injury. Often, the bleeding causes your joints to tighten up which makes the entire area swollen and difficult to bend.

Some people tend to bleed in the brain. This could lead to a large bump on the head and some serious injury. The symptoms for this include constant vomiting, headache, neck pain, double vision, sudden spasms and extreme weakness.

Treatment

There are several types of treatment you can try to heal haemophilia.

  • Desmopressin

Desmopressin – a synthetic hormone – is a common treatment used on most patients these days to treat haemophilia. It is administered via a nasal spray or an injection. The effects are not long lasting, and it must thus be administered quite often, depending upon the needs of the individual.

  • Antifibrinolytic Medicines

Antifibrinolytic medicines are usually given in the form of a pill. They fall under the category of replacement therapy and stop blood clots from breaking.

  • Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is also being used for patients suffering from haemophilia but it’s still a work in progress, and is not considered as the most acceptable form of treatment for haemophilia.

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