Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month: Raising Awareness - Blood Disorder

March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, and we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about these conditions. Although bleeding disorders are rare, this is still important news for seniors since over 20 million people across the globe suffer from an inherited blood disorder that’s symptomatic. They can be caused by other factors as well, which we will talk more about.
Since this type of disorder is lesser known than others, we’ll be discussing common types of bleeding disorders, their symptoms, and how they can be treated. If someone you know has a bleeding disorder, please share this information with them and if you have a bleeding disorder yourself, we’d like to encourage you to share your story and help to educate those around you.

What Is A Bleeding Disorder?

So, what exactly is a bleeding disorder? A bleeding disorder is a condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot properly. When you cut yourself, your blood clots and stops the bleeding. This happens when platelets (a type of cell in your blood) gather at the wound and essentially, create a plug. 
The clotting process also involves proteins called clotting factors, which are made by the liver. If you have a bleeding disorder, one or more of these components may be missing or not working properly, which can cause excessive bleeding.

The Most Common Types

There are various types of bleeding disorders, but some of the most common are

  • Hemophilia
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Leukocytosis
  • Anemia
  • Von Willebrand Disease (vWD)
  • Factor VIII

Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that affects the clotting proteins, and it is most common in males. Von Willebrand disease is a genetic disorder that affects your platelets, and it is most common in females. Factor VIII deficiency however, is a genetic disorder that affects the clotting factors, and it is most common in both males and females.
Additionally, Anemia occurs when you don’t have enough red blood cells. Sickle Cell disease also affects the red blood cells and if someone is suffering from Leukocytosis this means that their white blood cell count is too high.
Each type of bleeding disorder has its own set of symptoms. For example, people with hemophilia may experience excessive bruising, swollen joints, and bleeding into joints. People with Von Willebrand disease may experience excessive bleeding, easy bruising, heavy menstrual cycles, and long-lasting nosebleeds. And people with Factor VIII could experience fatigue, a reduction in oxygenated blood, and general weakness.

How Are They Caused?

Bleeding disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including problems with the clotting proteins, platelets, or clotting factors. They can also be caused by side effects of certain medications such as blood thinners, or diseases such as cancer. You should know that they can also be inherited. 
Additionally, if you suffer from liver disease or if you have a Vitamin K deficiency, a bleeding disorder is possible of developing. While Vitamin K deficiencies are most often seen in newborns that cannot stop bleeding because their blood doesn’t have enough Vitamin K to form clots, its also seen in others as well. This is called VKDB, or Vitamin K Deficiency. 
This deficiency is also seen in those that are prescribed blood thinners. This is because Vitamin K actually consists of four of the much needed 13 proteins that we need to form clots. Anyone that actively takes anticoagulants, or blood thinners to prevent clots from forming in the lungs, or other areas is always warned about the risk of Vitamin K Deficiency.

What About Treatment?

Treatment may vary depending on the type of bleeding disorder you have and its severity. Treatment options may include medications, blood transfusions, and surgery. You could expect bloop-component therapies or even a bone-marrow transplant. If you have a bleeding disorder, it’s important to work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that’s right for what you’re experiencing.

Raise Awareness

As a magazine for seniors, we always want to provide useful information that can both educate, and engage readers with important topics. If you have a bleeding disorder, please share your story. We can often have an impact on others that we don’t realize. This will help to raise awareness for these disorders and help others who may be struggling with the same thing, or that aren’t educated about it at all. Additionally, during Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, please take the time to learn more about these conditions to see ways that you can be proactive if you have a history of the disorders in your family or to be proactive in general. Since they can affect newborns to seniors, it’s important to be aware of anything that you, a friend, or even a family member could be susceptible to.