It is estimated that it takes 1200 plasma donations to treat a patient with Hemophilia for one year. But what is Hemophilia, and how is it caused?
What is Hemophilia?
Hemophilia is a rare, bleeding disorder that causes excessive bleeding due to your blood not clotting properly. The bleeding is labeled excessive because a patient with Hemophilia bleeds uncommonly more even when the wound or injury is minor.
Hemophilia affects men and women from all racial and ethnic groups, however, it seems to occur almost exclusively in males. Most cases of Hemophilia are inherited and are of two types. Hemophilia A, or Classic Hemophilia, is the most common, occurring in 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 10,000 males. While Hemophilia B is less common, occurring in 1 in 25,000 to 1 in 30,000 males.
However, Hemophilia, in extremely rare cases, can also be acquired. This is referred to as Autoimmune Hemophilia A (AHA), and like any autoimmune disease, it is caused by the immune system attacking and destroying its own proteins.
Signs of Hemophilia
Hemophilia is almost always diagnosed at birth, but it is still worth mentioning its signs.
Common signs of Hemophilia are:
Bleeding of the mouth and gums.
Frequent and hard-to-stop nosebleeds.
Blood in the urine or stool.
Bleeding after having shots, such as vaccinations.
Besides excessive external bleeding, Hemophilia also causes internal bleeding in joints and muscles such as the knees or hips. In extreme cases, this can lead to reduced mobility or even permanent joint deformities.
Causes of Hemophilia
Hemophilia, whether Type A or Type B, is caused by a genetic mutation or change in one of the genes which result in a deficiency of Coagulation Factors.
Coagulation Factors are proteins responsible for clotting the blood at a wound or injury site.
When you suffer a bruise and begin to bleed, your immune system immediately sends Coagulation Factors to the bruise site. The proteins convert the surrounding blood into a semi-solid, highly viscous liquid, forming what we call a clot. The clot acts as a plug, preventing further blood loss.
There are 13 kinds of Coagulation Factors, each denoted by a Roman numeral. Naturally, the body of a person deficient in these proteins is unable to form clots and hence prevent blood loss. Precisely, patients of Hemophilia A are missing Factor VIII, whereas patients of Hemophilia B are missing Factor IX.
How Can You Help
Fundamentally, plasma therapies are concentrated proteins extracted from the plasma donated by healthy, voluntary donors such as you.
To patients of Hemophilia, the therapies provide an external supply of Coagulation Factors, enabling them to live a life that is happier, ordinary, unimpaired by excessive bleeding.
Voluntarily donated plasma indeed is the biggest source of plasma that is used to treat patients with numerous rare diseases other than Hemophilia. By donating plasma, donors save lives and are also compensated for their time while they donate.
Want to donate plasma? Find more information here.