Everything You Need to Know About Haemophilia in Children

Get all your questions pertaining to haemophilia in children answered here.

A first aid kit is your best friend as a parent. Children seem to know just how to walk in an unbalanced gait and topple over without any external help. The result is an extraordinary number of bumps and bruises that need more than a mother’s kiss to make better. While bruises and scrapes are a normal part of childhood, haemophilia children need extra care. A bruise or cut would heal and scab over for others, but for haemophilia children, even the smallest cuts are a cause of concern. If you are a parent with haemophilia children or would just like to know more about the condition to help your loved ones handle it better, here are the answer to the most common questions when it comes to haemophilia in children.

What is Haemophilia?

When you get a cut, there are clotting agents in your blood that act quickly to curb the bleeding. However, for haemophilia children, the disease actively stops blood from clotting properly. The result is an excessive loss of blood, which can be very dangerous to the health of haemophilia children. This genetic disorder tends to affect more boys than girls. In fact, statistics show that one in every 5-10,000 boys have this condition. Even though many girls inherit this gene, they are generally not affected by the condition. However, these girls become carriers of the gene and can pass it on to their kids. Haemophilia in children is generally caused by inheritance of mutated genes, or gene mutations that happen during the development of the child in the womb.

Bleeding in haemophilia children may be external where the cut and excessive bleeding is visible, or internal where the bleeding happens inside the body and is not visible. In general, internal bleeding in the joints of the hips and knees is commonly seen in haemophilia children.

How does blood clot?

In normal people, the body has the means to protect itself when you suffer through a bruise or a cut. Platelets are sticky blood cells that rush to the spot of bleeding and work quickly to stem the flow. As the platelets work, they also activate the clotting proteins in the blood which mix with the platelets to form fibers. This makes the clot stronger and serves to stop the bleeding.

What happens in the case of haemophilia children?

Now when it comes to haemophilia children, the body does not produce enough of the clotting factors to stem the bleeding. There are 13 clotting factors or proteins in our blood which need to work together to cause a blood clot. In haemophilia children, clotting proteins no. 8 or 9 are not produced in adequate quantities, and this is what causes the condition.

A factor 8 deficiency results in haemophilia A. This type of haemophilia in children is common, and about 80 percent of the cases reported have this type of haemophilia. Deficiency of factor 9 causes haemophilia B, which is less common.

Depending on the amount of specific clotting factor present in the blood, haemophilia in children can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. Mild haemophilia children have only about 6 to 50 percent of the affected clotting factor, moderate haemophilia children have approximately 2 to 5 percent, while those with severe haemophilia have less than 1 percent of the affected clotting factor.

What are the symptoms of haemophilia in children?

External bleeding presents obvious symptoms such as bleeding more than usual, and nosebleeds that last a long time. Internal bleeding requires you to pay attention to the signs. The signs include bruising without swelling, tenderness in a muscle or joint area, a bubbly sensation in the affected area, as well as aches and stiffness. Other signs include red-colored urine (hematuria), blood in vomit or feces, and symptoms such as lethargy, headaches, vomiting, and/or seizures after a head injury.

What are the treatment options for haemophilia children?

This is a lifelong condition that can only be treated by liver transplants. However, this may not be advisable, as such a surgery might actually create more health problems than before. Management of haemophilia in children is a better prospect, and includes factor replacement therapy and medications.