Haemophilia is a hereditary bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly due to the shortage of certain clotting factors. It causes bleeding in joints, muscle and organs both spontaneously and after trauma. If it is not properly treated, haemophilia results in permanent joint deformities. There is no cure for haemophilia but bleeding can be treated by injecting the missing clotting factors into the blood. It affects males almost exclusively and females are the carriers of the haemophilia gene. Haemophilia has three levels of severity which are mild, moderate and severe. These levels are based on the amount of active clotting factor naturally available in an individual’s blood. Quantities of clotting factor required to stop a bleed vary based on how serious a bleed is and the level of severity of the individual. Those with mild haemophilia have more active factor naturally available in their blood and should, in theory, not need as much treatment as those who are moderate and severe.
The Effects of Haemophilia
Haemophilia causes internal bleeding into soft tissue, muscles, joints, and organs. The bleeding results in pain and swelling. Bleeding episodes affect schooling, employment and the normal day-to-day life. Long-term effects of repeated bleeds are muscle wastage, restriction of mobility in joints, arthritis, and chronic pain.
Treatment of Haemophilia
A haemophiliac needs to replace the missing clotting factors in the blood when a bleeding episode occurs. Clotting factors are injected into the bloodstream which enables the clotting process to continue so that the bleed is stopped. The clotting factors are processed both from human blood and of late, genetic engineering has provided synthetic factors.
Inheritance of Haemophilia
Haemophilia is carried by an ‘X’ chromosome. It mainly affects males while females are the carriers. When a father has haemophilia, none of the sons will have it since if a child is male, the father will have provided a ‘Y’ chromosome though all the daughters will be carriers since they would have received the affected ‘X” chromosome from the father.
If the mother is a haemophilia carrier, there is a 50% chance at each birth that a son will have haemophilia. There is also a 50% chance at each birth that a daughter will be a carrier of the haemophilia gene.
THE ZIMBABWE HAEMOPHILIA ASSOCIATION
The Haemophilia Association is a registered Welfare Organisation (Number WO 17/88) which aims to educate medical personnel as well as the heamophiliacs themselves to enable them to manage their lives without haemophilia being an impediment to full, healthy and productive lives. Proper management of haemophilia will also lessen the impact of the condition on schooling and employment.
The Association is involved in education as well as sourcing and supply of the factor concentrates and supply of walking aids, wheelchairs etc. required for use during a bleed. We hope to assist in the supply of funding towards this goal.
On 11 June various orthopaedic braces (knee, ankle, elbow and wrist braces ranging in both size and support) and a variety of crutches were delivered…
The Zimbabwe Haemophilia Association, a registered Welfare Organisation (Number WO 17/88) has joined 'Friends' as a beneficiary. Haemophilia is a…