Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Eli from Pentwater, MI. Eli Wonders, “What is hemophilia?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Eli!
It’s common for kids to have bumps and falls. You’ve probably gone through a few yourself! Most don’t seem like much to worry about. They may result in a bruise or scrape that will heal with time. However, some kids and adults have more to worry about from these injuries. In some cases, they can result in major problems due to hemophilia.
What is hemophilia? It’s a condition in which the blood doesn’t clot the way it should. If you’ve been WONDERing with us for a while, you might already understand the importance of blood clots. They help scabs form and carry out other tasks needed for healing.
There are two forms of this condition—known as A and B. Both are caused by low levels of clotting factors in the blood. When a person has hemophilia A, they have low levels of factor VIII. Patients with the B type have a deficit of factor IX.
What causes the low levels of these clotting factors? It comes down to genetics. In the case of hemophilia, the affected genes are part of the X chromosome. An issue with these genes results in a lack of clotting factors or factors that don’t work properly.
You may already know that male humans have an X and a Y chromosome. Those who are female have two X chromosomes. For this reason, hemophilia is more likely to affect biological males. Those born female are more likely to be carriers than to have the condition. That’s because they have a higher chance of inheriting at least one unaffected X chromosome.
Of course, some biological females do have hemophilia, but it’s uncommon. The condition itself is also rare, affecting only one in every 5,000 people. Today, about 400,000 people around the world are living with the condition.
What are the symptoms of hemophilia? As you might expect, heavy blood loss is the main sign of this condition. Signs include bleeding that won’t stop after losing a tooth, getting shots, or having surgery. Bleeding into the joints, skin, or muscles after injury is also common. Frequent nosebleeds is another symptom. People are usually diagnosed as children.
Treatment for hemophilia is available. Most often, it includes replacing the missing clotting factor via infusion. This allows the blood to clot as it should. People with the condition work closely with doctors to find the right treatment for them.
Do you or someone you know have hemophilia? If so, you know it can be a difficult condition to treat. However, with the right doctors and treatment plans, most effects of the illness can be controlled.
Standards: NGSS.LS3.A, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.W.8, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.4