Hemophilia Treatment

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Hemophilia treatment is complicated. And, as you get older, you'll also face other health issues. Managing your hemophilia requires knowledge and experience that’s not easy to find.

At UVA, you’ll find a personalized approach to your care based on decades of experience. You’ll get the support you need to maximize your life.

Hemophilia Expertise at UVA

Your care team includes a blood disorders doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse coordinator, social worker, and a physical therapist. Each person on your team will focus on helping you with a different aspect of living with a bleeding disorder.

The Benefits of Research

As a patient at an academic medical center, you’ll have access to the newest treatments and therapies available. You can participate in clinical trials and benefit from our constant research to advance medicine.

Growing Up With Hemophilia

Growing up with hemophilia has many challenges. Finding healthcare that stays with you as you age is important.

Our pediatric blood disorders clinic sees children with hemophilia. Adults stay in the same program. You’ll go to the adult blood disorders clinic and see new doctors, but some of your providers will stay the same. And the standards of care will remain the same, as part of the Hemophilia Treatment Center.

This kind of thorough care that stays with you leads to better health for your whole life.

Team Spotlight: Focused Care

One of our hematologists, Louise Man, MD, discusses the process and approach she uses with each patient. View transcript.

Hemophilia Symptoms

A blood clot stops a wound from continuing to bleed when you get hurt. Special proteins (clotting factors) in your blood make the blood clot. If you don't have enough blood-clotting proteins, you have hemophilia.

The main symptom of hemophilia is bleeding. If you get injured or have surgery and start bleeding, it doesn’t stop. If you have severe hemophilia, you might bleed even without a cause.

Most people find out they have hemophilia in their youth. But, sometimes mild hemophilia symptoms don’t appear until later in life, like:

  • Easy bruising
  • Severe nosebleeds
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in stools
  • Heavy bleeding after minor cuts, bumps, dental work, or other trauma
  • Joint pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

Hemophilia Treatments

You can have a mild, moderate, or severe forms of hemophilia. If you have a severe form of hemophilia, you may need treatments regularly. Otherwise, you could need treatment if you:

  • Are currently bleeding (like from an injury)
  • Face a high risk of bleeding, like during surgery
  • Have had several cases of bleeding in your joints

We’ll test you often to watch your factor levels.

Getting Treatment at our Infusion Center

This is usually done at home or in one of our infusion centers.

Types of Hemophilia Treatments

We treat hemophilia in two ways. We can give you a clotting factor concentrate through an IV. We also offer antibody therapies that help your body clot properly.

The type of clotting factor you need depends on the type of bleeding disorder you have (hemophilia A, hemophilia B, or von Willebrand disease).

If you develop a resistance to one type of protein, we’ll need to treat you for the resistance. We may also need to find another type of clotting medicine that your body will respond to.

Self-Care & Bleeding Prevention

We’re here to help you when you need us. But we can also teach you how to provide self-care. We can work with you to find ways to live your life while avoiding a bleeding crisis.

Learn to Give Yourself Treatment

We can teach you and/or a caregiver how to give yourself infusions at home. If you do this at the first signs of bleeding, you can help prevent a crisis.

Get Immunized

Receiving blood products can increase your risk of exposure to some viruses, such as hepatitis. Don’t skip your hepatitis B and hepatitis A vaccinations.

Choose Low-Impact Exercises

You’ll want to stay active. But sports and games that involve collisions or physical contact can put you at risk for bleeding. If you do choose a physical sport, take extra care to protect your head from injuries.

Avoid Certain Medications

Be careful when you take medicine. Avoid drugs that can make your bleeding problems worse. These include:

  • Blood thinners or anticoagulants that slow down blood clotting
  • Antiplatelet therapy, usually given for stroke and heart problems, which prevents blood clots
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, naproxen, others