Haemophilia is when somebody has difficulty stopping bleeding because they don’t have a clotting factor. A clotting factor is something in their blood that helps to stop them bleeding.
What is it like for siblings if their brother or sister has haemophilia?
Lots of siblings have really good relationships with their brothers and sisters who have haemophilia. However, siblings may also feel very protective of their brothers and sisters who have haemophilia and may worry about them falling over or getting a cut.
What causes haemophilia?
Haemophilia is a genetic condition that somebody is born with. It can be passed from parents to children. It cannot be caught, like a cold. In some families, it will affect some children but not others. There are two types of haemophilia. Haemophilia A is when the body is missing a clotting factor called factor 8. Haemophilia B (sometimes called Christmas disease) is when the body is missing a clotting factor called factor 9.
What does it mean?
A body needs lots of clotting factors to stop bleeding properly. When someone is missing a clotting factor, it means that their body can’t stop bleeding as quickly as they should do after they bump or cut themselves. They might not even see any blood when this happens because the bleeding can sometimes happen inside their body where they can’t see it straight away. It may be possible to see a purple bruise on the skin. It can be very painful.
What treatment is there?
The main treatment for haemophilia is called replacement therapy. This is when a clotting factor is slowly put into a vein through a drip or is injected. This helps to replace the clotting factor that’s missing or low.