What are bleeding disorders?


A bleeding disorder is a condition in which there is a problem with the body’s blood clotting process. In such cases, your blood doesn’t clot normally, and you may experience problems with excessive bleeding after an injury or surgery. Any problem with the coagulation factors or platelets can lead to bleeding disorders. Bleeding disorders classifications can be acquired or inherited. If you have a bleeding disorder, consult the best hematology hospital near you.

Types of bleeding disorders

Bleeding disorders may be inherited or acquired, i.e., you may develop them over time. In contrast to genetic bleeding disorders, acquired bleeding disorders are more prevalent.

Acquired bleeding disorders may develop if something in your body like a disease or medicine may cause irregularities in clotting factors. Acquired bleeding disorders include Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), Liver disease-associated bleeding, Vitamin K deficiency bleeding, Von Willebrand disease and hemophilia, arteriovenous malformations(tangles of blood vessels), and other rare types of acquired bleeding disorders which include deficiencies of certain factors.

Inherited bleeding disorders may include a combined deficiency of the vitamin K–dependent clotting factors, hemophilia A, hemophilia B, hemophilia C, Von Willebrand disease (VWD), hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, and other inherited bleeding disorders, which includes rare bleeding disorders, such as I, II, V, V + VIII, VII, X, XI, or XIII deficiencies.

Bleeding disorders in newborns are rare, but they may be life-threatening and demand immediate attention. Neonatal bleedings may be due to platelet disorders, neonatal hemophilia and other congenital clotting factor deficiencies, vitamin K deficiency syndromes, liver failure, or disseminated intravascular coagulation.

Symptoms of Bleeding Disorders

Symptoms of bleeding disorders may differ on the type of bleeding disorder, its cause, and also if the disorder is mild or serious. They may be obvious right after birth or maybe in adulthood. In some cases, especially when the symptoms are mild, the bleeding disorder may not have any signs and symptoms until they are injured or have to go through a medical procedure.

Common signs and symptoms of bleeding disorders may include blood in urine or stool, excessive bleeding like nosebleeds, bleedings after a cut, dental procedures, or surgery. Having large bruises frequently, heavy menstrual bleeding, heavy bleeding after giving birth, and petechiae are also common symptoms of bleeding disorders. Inherited hemophilia may cause redness, swelling, stiffness or pain. In newborns, umbilical stump bleeding may be due to inherent bleeding disorders.

Causes of bleeding disorders

Bleedings are stopped when platelets clump together to form a plug at the site of the damaged or injured blood vessel. Then the clotting factors come together to form a fibrin clot, keeping the platelets in place and preventing blood from flowing out of the blood vessel. Some bleeding disorders are inherited. Acquired bleeding disorders may develop as a result of medical conditions like liver disease, a low red blood cell count, vitamin K deficiency, or side effects of certain medications.

Diagnosis of bleeding disorders

Specialists at a hematology clinic can diagnose your bleeding disorder, its cause and severity based on your symptoms, risk factors, medical and family history, physical exams, and blood tests. The doctor will start by asking you several questions that will thoroughly explore your history of bleeding. The doctor will then perform a physical exam looking for signs like bruising or petechiae for bleeding disorders. Your doctor may also look for signs of medical conditions that can cause bleeding disorders or similar conditions. Your doctor may also order some tests including

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Partial thromboplastin time (PTT)
  • Prothrombin time (PT)
  • Mixing test
  • Von Willebrand factor (vWF) tests
  • Clotting factor tests
  • Bethesda test
  • Factor XIII antigen and activity assays
  • Genetic testing
  • Severe hemophilia A
  • Moderate hemophilia A
  • Mild hemophilia A

Your doctor may prescribe tests for acquired bleeding disorders. Tests can include blood tests, a lupus anticoagulant test, pregnancy tests and procedures like a pelvic exam, pap test, ultrasound, or biopsy of the lining of the uterus.

Treatment for Bleeding Disorders

Mild treatments do not require bleeding disorders. Treatments for bleeding disorders may include medicines and factor replacement therapy. Medicines for bleeding disorders include antifibrinolytic agents, birth control pills desmopressin (DDAVP), immunosuppressive medicines such as prednisone, and Vitamin K supplements.

Factor replacement therapy is used to replace missing clotting factors. Your doctor may recommend this when you experience bleeding or to prevent it. Factor replacement therapy may include bypassing medicines, clotting factor concentrates, and fresh frozen plasma.

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