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Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a genetic disorder caused by a missing or defective von Willebrand factor (VWF), a clotting protein.

People with VWD may experience frequent nosebleeds, easy bruising, and excessive bleeding during and after invasive procedures, such as tooth extractions and surgery. Women often experience menorrhagia, heavy menstrual periods that last longer than average, and may hemorrhage after childbirth.

There are 3 types of VWD with various subtypes organized by the specific problem with the von Willebrand factor, whether it is defective (doesn’t work properly) or deficient (not enough).

  • Type 1 is the most common and usually the mildest form of VWD in which a person has lower than normal levels of VWF.
  • Type 2 signifies that the VWF is defective and does not work properly. Type 2 is further broken down into four subtypes.
  • Type 3 is the most severe form of VWD, in which a person has little to no VWF.

VWD affects up to 1% of the population, affecting both men and women equally. Parents with the disorder have a 50% chance of passing the disorder onto their children.