Hemophilia is a rare genetic blood disorder that primarily affects men. The condition causes a patient’s wound to bleed longer than usual after an injury. Due to the lack of blood clotting proteins in the body, a person with hemophilia can experience excessive bleeding that can be life-threatening in some cases. The excess blood can also travel to the brain and cause paralysis or seizures.

What causes hemophilia?

In a normal state, an individual’s blood gushes through the blood vessels without any clotting. However, when an injury occurs, the body responds by forming a clot at the place of injury to prevent blood loss. The process of clot formation is a complex one, which mainly consists of factors like platelets. Hemophilia is caused when an individual genetically lacks these clotting factors. 

While the disease is genetic in most cases, it can also be acquired in certain cases of people with autoimmune conditions, cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc. In acquired cases, hemophilia is caused when a person’s immune system attacks clotting factors in the bloodstream.  

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According to mayoclinic, symptoms of hemophilia include deep or big bruises, excessive and unexplained bleeding caused by cuts or other injuries, swelling or stiffness in joints, blood while passing stool or urine, and nosebleeds. 

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Why is the disease rare in women?

“Hemophilia is a X linked recessive disorder. It means the gene for hemophilia lies on the X chromosome. Since females have two X chromosomes, they are usually not affected by hemophilia,” Dr. Shweta Bansal, a consultant pediatric oncologist at Masina Hospital, told HT. 

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Even though women rarely manifest the disease, they can serve as carriers and pass it on to their sons. 

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However, in rare cases, hemophilia can occur in women who have one inactive X chromosome, homozygosity, defective gene, turner syndrome or a Vitamin K deficiency.