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Raising Awareness for Bleeding Disorders

Though considered rare, millions are affected by blood clotting disorders

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Raising Awareness for Bleeding Disorders

Bleeding disorders are rare conditions that affect the body’s ability to form a clot, which leads to prolonged bleeding from injuries and surgery, and sometimes, spontaneous bleeding.

While these conditions are relatively rare, it’s a good idea to know their signs and symptoms and how they develop. 

For Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, Jayanti Kunwar, RN, nurse manager of the Hemophilia Treatment Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Muhlenberg, shares answers to common questions people have about these conditions.

What are the main types of bleeding disorders?

There are 13 factors that control clotting in the human body. With bleeding disorders, the amount of one or more of these factors is low or not present at all.

While there are many conditions that fall into this category, two of the most common are von Willebrand disease and hemophilia.

What are the symptoms of bleeding disorders?

The most common symptoms include:

  • Bleeding into the muscles, soft tissue or joints
  • Extensive bleeding from small cuts or during minor procedures
  • Frequent bruising
  • Heavy periods
  • Unexplained nosebleeds

Some bleeding disorders are identified early in life, while others are not diagnosed until later.

“Some people are diagnosed as a child when they get a scrape and the cut keeps bleeding,” Kunwar says. “Others don’t know they have a bleeding disorder until they start their period or get their wisdom teeth out when they are older. It truly depends on the type of condition you have and your life experiences.”

What should I do if I think I have a bleeding disorder?

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, you should make an appointment with your primary care provider. While they could be a sign of a bleeding disorder, they are most often caused by other conditions.

However, if additional testing reveals a bleeding disorder, you will need to see a hematologist (a doctor who specializes in conditions affecting the blood).

Many patients with bleeding disorders are specifically referred to hemophilia treatment centers, where clinicians who specialize in treating these conditions offer the latest treatments and advanced care.

Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute’s Hemophilia Treatment Center

The Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) at LVH–Muhlenberg is one of approximately 150 HTCs in the United States. Founded over 30 years ago, the comprehensive program offers a range of services, including diagnostic testing, prevention-focused care, coordination with other clinicians and patient education.

“Our role goes beyond treating our patients. We work with their other doctors to safely plan unrelated medical procedures and help educate their families and schools about their condition,” Kunwar says. “Bleeding disorders are something to be careful about, but if you have one, you can still live a long and happy life. We are here to help our patients achieve that.”

Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg main (north) entrance

Bleeding Disorder Treatment at Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute

Comprehensive care for these conditions.

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