Even though hemophilia A and B are both blood clotting disorders, there exist a few differences between them when it comes to their cause and treatment. Continue reading for more on these two types of hemophilia.
Disclaimer: This article is purely for the purpose of providing information, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Diseases wherein a person may end up with problems in his blood exist in plenty. Usually, these are non-infectious diseases that affect the ability of blood to clot after a wound, as a result of which stopping bleeding becomes difficult once it starts. When we talk about blood clotting disorders, one of the most common ones is hemophilia, which is a genetic disorder. The same is further divided into different types, of which the two types are hemophilia A and hemophilia B. Basically, it is an X-linked recessive genetic disease that tends to affect males more than females.
Hemophilia A and B Differences
The main difference between these two types of hemophilia lies in the factors that they are deficient in. While hemophilia A is caused due to a deficiency in factor VIII – which is a protein that acts as a cofactor for factor IX, hemophilia B – also known as Christmas disease or Royal hemophilia, is caused due to mutation of the factor IX gene, which causes a deficiency of factor IX in the body.
Since both conditions are X-linked recessive genetic disorders, both of these conditions lead to an increased risk of bleeding, but hemophilia B makes the body more likely to suffer from prolonged bleeding after a hemorrhage. Interestingly, hemophilia A is much more common than hemophilia B and makes up a total of 80 percent of the overall cases of this disorder.
Usually, bleeding that goes on for longer than usual is the main symptom of both these conditions. In childhood, even small wounds and scrapes are noticed as being causes of a lot of blood loss. Sometimes however, hemophilia symptoms go unnoticed in childhood, till puberty or adolescence. One may also experience bleeding into joints, leading to pain and swelling in these regions.
At times, the person may also notice traces of blood in his urine or in stool. Frequent nosebleeds and internal bleeding, like in the gastrointestinal tract, also become relatively common occurrences. Similarly, simple procedures like tooth extractions and other mild surgical procedures may lead to excessive blood loss, in the form of blood oozing out from the wound for days at times.
Since hemophilia is a genetic disorder, unfortunately no amount of tablets nor pills can possibly help in its treatment. Being a blood disorder, the only standard treatment option that exists is blood transfusion or supplementation of the missing factors via an intravenous route. For hemophilia A, treatment usually involves giving plasma concentrate of factor VIII. This however, is only done in cases that are moderate to severe in nature. In cases of mild hemophilia A, intake of desmopressin works well enough as it helps to release stored factor VIII from blood vessels.
When it comes to hemophilia B treatment, the standard treatment protocol dictates that regular transfusion of factor IX needs to be done in an attempt to compensate for the defective clotting factor. Usually as a preventive measure, families are advised to know how to administer factor IX in case of an emergency. In order to prevent the chances of post-operative bleeding complications, usually factor IX concentrate is given before any kind of operative procedure is carried out.
Both, hemophilia A and B are serious conditions that should not be taken lightly. Hemophilia is usually diagnosed after a series of tests – known as coagulation study – are carried out. To be on the safer side, other members of the family may also be tested. Even though you needn’t worry too much about the regular transfusions, you need to ensure that when you get the transfusions done, they are done in a proper and sterile environment, so as to reduce the risk of infections.
The chances of an infection are high owing to the frequency of blood transfusions. That explains why people suffering from hemophilia are often advised to get themselves vaccinated against hepatitis B. Even though there is no cure for hemophilia, the severity of its symptoms can be kept to a minimum, by exercising some simple precautionary measures and by regularly visiting the doctor for timely blood transfusions.