Haemophilia is a rare condition that mostly affects men. Here, the blood does not clot properly.
In a healthy human, platelets and proteins called clotting factors work together to stop bleeding where it occurs. But since people with haemophilia produce lower amounts of either Factor VIII or Factor IX than those without the condition, they tend to bleed for a longer time after an injury, and are more susceptible to internal bleeding.
- Haemophilia is normally an inherited disorder which means the person is born with it.
- The main cause of the disease is in one of the clotting factor genes on the X chromosome.
- Since the gene can be passed from mother to son, Haemophilia tends to occur in males. Most females have the XX Chromosome which can make up for the gene defect while men have XY chromosomes. Which is why, females are usually carriers. In pretty rare cases, a female can have haemophilia only if she has the abnormal gene on both her XX chromosomes.
- The disorder can also develop if the body forms antibodies to clotting factors in the blood that then stop the clotting factors from working.
There are two major types of haemophilia, type A and type B.
- In haemophilia A, there is a lack of clotting factor VIII. This accounts for about 80 per cent of haemophilia cases. About 70 per cent of people with Haemophilia A have the severe form.
- In haemophilia B, the person lacks clotting factor IX. It is also known as ‘Christmas disease.’ Haemophilia occurs in around 1 in every 20,000 males born worldwide.
Both A and B can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the amount of clotting factor that is in the blood.