What are Bleeding Disorders?
Bleeding disorders are a group of inherited conditions that result when the blood does not clot properly due to a missing or defective protein or cell in one’s blood. Individuals affected by bleeding disorders may experience easy bruising, prolonged nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding, and prolonged and spontaneous bleeding in joints, muscles, and organs. Prolonged bleeding may also occur following surgery or injury.
The body produces 12 clotting factors; if any of them are defective or deficient, blood clotting is affected. Platelets, cells in the blood stream, also assist in blood clotting and can be affected by a bleeding disorder. Depending on the type of defect, a mild, moderate, or severe bleeding disorder can result.
- Bleeding disorders affect all races, genders, and ages.
- Hemophilia and von Willebrand disease (VWD) are the two most common types of bleeding disorders.
- Hemophilia affects roughly 20,000 individuals in the United States.
- VWD affects 1% of the US population.