By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Haemophilia A is a condition that affects the ability of the blood to clot, which leads to prolonged bleeding in response to injury. The symptoms may appear as soon as the baby is born, especially if an assisted delivery was required.
Some of the symptoms of this condition include:
- In the case of assisted delivery using vacuum extraction or forceps, a baby with haemophilia A is usually born with extensive head bruising or hematomas. It may also cause severe bleeding within the brain, which is referred to as intracranial haemorrhage.
- Early circumcision during the newborn period may also lead to haemophilia being suspected if the circumcision wound fails to stop bleeding.
- Prolonged bleeding may also become noticeable when a tooth is extracted or a milk tooth is lost.
- The symptoms of haemophilia range from mild to severe depending on how deficient the blood clotting factors are. However, the majority of cases are severe and sufferers often experience internal bleeding.
- Bleeding may occur around the joints and muscles leading to pain, stiffness and eventually joint damage.
- Females with haemophilia A may experience heavy bleeding during their periods as a symptom of the disease.
- The symptoms people with hemophila experience depend on the severity of their condition which can be divided into the following:
Severe haemophilia A is the most common form of haemophilia, accounting for 60% of all cases, and is defined as a Factor VIII level of less than 1%. People with severe haemophilia A experience at least 20 or more episodes of severe bleeding every year, sometimes in the absence of trauma or injury.
Moderate haemophilia A is defined as a Factor VIII level of between 1% and 5%, along with less frequent bleeding episodes.
Mild haemophilia is defined as a Factor VIII level of between 5% and 25%, with bleeding episodes only occurring in response to severe trauma or surgery, for example.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Jul 20, 2014