Haemophilia / What Is The
Difference Between Haemophilia
A & B?
Haemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder that affects
mostly males. Blood contains many proteins, called clotting
factors, which work to stop bleeding. In people with
bleeding disorders, these clotting factors are missing
or do not work as they should.
lack of clotting factor causes people with Haemophilia
to bleed for longer periods of time than people whose
blood factor levels are normal or work properly. People
with Haemophilia do not bleed faster than other people,
and will not bleed to death from a minor cut or injury.
The main problem for people with Haemophilia is bleeding
internally, mainly into muscles and joints.
with mild Haemophilia may have very few bleeding episodes,
and may only need to take precautions if they are having
surgery or are seriously injured. However, people with
severe Haemophilia often bleed spontaneously (that is,
there is no obvious cause for the bleed, it just happens).
Haemophilia is a lifelong inherited genetic condition,
which affects females as carriers and males who inherit
the condition. About a third of new diagnoses are where
there is no previous family history. It appears world-wide
and occurs in all racial groups. About 6,000 people
are affected with Haemophilia in the UK. There are two
types of Haemophilia, the most common being Haemophilia
A, in which Factor VIII is lacking. In Haemophilia B,
Factor IX is lacking.
treatment products and proper care, people with Haemophilia
can live perfectly healthy lives. Without treatment,
Haemophilia can cause crippling pain, severe joint damage,
disability, and early death. Tragically, only about
25 percent of people with Haemophilia in the world receive
treatment for Haemophilia is usually by replacement
of the missing clotting factor. This is by injecting
it on a regular basis (called prophylaxis) to help prevent
bleeding, or injecting at the time a bleed occurs (called
on-demand therapy). Regular treatment by prophylaxis
- 2 or 3 times a week - helps the blood to clot and
minimises the likelihood of long term joint damage.
Unfortunately, there is no permanent way of replacing
or increasing the clotting factor level.
1986, heat and chemical treatment of blood products
to eliminate blood borne viruses began. A more recent
development is ‘recombinant’ clotting factor, where
the missing factor is produced by genetic engineering.
Since 1998 all children under 16 have been treated with
recombinant. Most adults in Scotland and Wales are also
now being treated with recombinant.
1986, much of the clotting factor derived from donated
blood had been contaminated. The Haemophilia community
in the UK has been severely affected by contamination
of blood products leading to widespread infection of
HIV and Hepatitis C. Approximately 1,200 people have
been infected with HIV. Almost all were co-infected
with Hepatitis C. Tragically, over half of those infected
have so far died and the emotional cost to bereaved
families, who have lost sons, fathers and other relatives
is a modern day tragedy.
than 4,800 people have been infected with Hepatitis
C. This disease affects the functioning of the liver.
is the difference between Haemophilia A and
are two types of Haemophilia: Haemophilia A and
Haemophilia B (sometimes called Christmas disease).
Both are caused by a lack or absence of one of the
proteins in the blood (called factors) that control
bleeding. Haemophilia A is caused by a deficiency
of factor VIII, and Haemophilia B is caused by a
deficiency of factor IX.
is no difference between the two types of Haemophilia,
except that Haemophilia B is about five times less
common than Haemophilia A.