Hemophilia is a rare blood disorder that is characterized by reduced amounts of clotting factors in the blood. Due to a lack of the appropriate amount of clotting factors, the blood in the body takes longer to clot or does not clot at all.
For individuals who suffer from hemophilia, small cuts and injuries are usually not something to worry about. But, deep cuts and internal injuries can often be life-threatening, and at times, fatal. Common signs and symptoms of hemophilia include unexplained or excessive bleeding, blood in stools, nosebleeds, and deep bruises, among many others. While there is no explanation about the causes of hemophilia, research has shown that there are two types of hemophilia that affect individuals across the globe.
- Hemophilia A
Hemophilia A is a subtype of hemophilia that is caused due to the lack of clotting factor VIII. Individuals who suffer from a severe version of hemophilia A may need to take clotting factor replacement injections up to three times a week as a preventive measure.
- Hemophilia B
Hemophilia B is another subtype, which is caused by the deficiency of clotting factor IX. Individuals who suffer from severe hemophilia B need to replenish the clotting factor IX at least twice a week as a preventative measure.
Treatment modes for hemophilia A and B
Irrespective of the mode of treatment, hemophilia is mainly treated by replacing the clotting factors that are missing. This allows the blood to clot properly and prevents fatalities. To restore the clotting factors in the blood, two concentrates are primarily used:
- Plasma-derived factor concentrates
These concentrates are derived from human plasma proteins. The plasma is collected from different people and its contents are seperated. It contains a whole lot of essential elements, such as antibodies, albumin, and a variety of clotting factors. Once the clotting factors are seperated, they are freeze-dried, tested, and treated to ensure that they are safe for use.
- Recombinant factor concentrates
This concentrate is genetically engineered from plasma that does not come from human beings. Recombinant factor concentrates are safe to use and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
There are multiple modes by which hemophilia A and B can be treated. Two of the most common ones are:
- Prophylactic care
Prophylactic care is a form of treatment that is undertaken to prevent bleeding episodes from taking place.
- Episodic care
Episodic care is a mode of treatment that is used to stop bleeding experienced by an individual.
While these are the most common ways to treat hemophilia, some individuals may develop inhibitors that prevent these treatments from working. In such cases, they might need to opt for other modes of treatment, such as:
- ACE 910
ACE 910 is an antibody that mimics the function of factor VIII, instead of replacing it. This is an effective way of treating hemophilia A.
- Desmopressin acetate
Desmopressin acetate is a drug that releases a hormone carrying factor VIII from the tissues into the bloodstream.
- Epsilon-aminocaproic acid
Epsilon-aminocaproic acid (EACA) is used to strengthen present blood clots to prevent bleeds from occuring again. This is mainly used for bleeds in the mouth. It also helps control severe blood loss during surgery.
If an individual has hemophilia, it is important that they get the right care at the right time. This is why blood disorder treatment centers are essential. Not only can they provide round-the-clock treatment but they also have on hand a team of physicians, specialists, therapists, nurses, and other experts who are trained to handle cases of both severe and mild hemophilia.