What is a bleeding disorder?
Bleeding disorders are usually characterized by a body’s inability to form blood clots. Blood clots are essential: In case of any injuries, they block and plug up any holes and prevent the loss and escape of blood from your body. This is an especially important process when the body experiences mild forms of wear and tear like scrapes to major injuries like gashes, or fractures. But if the individual has a blood disorder, they’ll continue to bleed, no clots will be formed and prompt medical assistance and medication will be mandatory.
What causes bleeding disorders?
At its core, bleeding disorders happen when the body can’t form blood clots. But how does blood clot? This process is made possible by two things: Blood proteins called clotting factors and blood cells called platelets. When there is an injury, a number of platelets come together and form a cluster at the base of a damaged or injured blood vessel. Next, coagulation factors or clotting factors will be activated. Their proteins will be stimulated and will come together to form a strong substance called fibrin. This fibrin clot will secure the position of the platelets and prevent the loss of blood.
How does this process work in individuals with bleeding disorders? Firstly, the clotting factors and platelets are not present in the amount they should be. And secondly, those that are present, don’t work right. In such cases, blood can’t clot and this results in the bleeding of injuries for long periods of time. Subsequently, this results in other side effects like sudden bleeding in the muscles, joints.
A major chunk of bleeding disorders is hereditary—if a parent, relative, or sibling has been diagnosed with a bleeding disorder, the chances of you having one are pretty high. But certain medical conditions are also responsible for particular blood disorders.
Other factors responsible for bleeding disorders:
- Vitamin K deficiencies
- Certain medications (anticoagulants)
Types of bleeding disorders
Genetics or other diseases may result in the development of bleeding disorders. Genetics are responsible for bleeding disorders that are inherited. Disorders that develop later in life can be referred to as acquired disorders. There are also times when heavy bleeding as a result of an accident or injury causes bleeding disorders. Some bleeding episodes are sudden and may have no clear cause.
Bleeding disorders are of several types, here are the most common ones:
- Hemophilia A and B: This condition is detected by the presence of low levels of clotting factors in your blood. Haemophilia A and B are defined by the heavy and abnormal bleeding of the joints. It is a rare condition with occasionally life-threatening complications.
- Lack Of Factors II, V, VII, X, or XII: The lack and deficiencies of certain factors or concentrates result in a bleeding disorder. Particularly, those factors that are associated with blood clotting problems that help with abnormal bleeding problems.
- Von Willebrand’s disease: This bleeding disorder happens because of the deficiency of von Willebrand factor (VWF), a protein that helps blood to clot. Although it sounds similar to hemophilia, there are subtle differences between the two conditions.
- Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP)