Hemophilia’s main symptom is bleeding. Defects in blood coagulation factors result in low levels of fibrin, which impairs the body’s ability to create strong blood clots. Bleeding, Bruising, and Other Hemophilia Symptoms
Extensive bleeding and easy bruising are common hemophilia symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, hemophilia does not make people bleed faster. Instead, bleeding lasts for longer than ordinary, due to the body’s inability to form a blood clot.
Hemophilia symptoms may include:
bleeding into joints and muscles
bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract
bleeding into the urinary tract
blood in stool
blood in urine
lengthy bleeding after trauma
lengthy bleeding after surgery or dental work
frequent nose bleeds
Levels of Hemophilia: Mild to Severe
Hemophilia symptoms may be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the amount of clotting factors produced. Mild hemophilia occurs when clotting factor levels fall between six to thirty percent of normal levels. People with moderate hemophilia have between one and five percent of normal clotting factor levels. Severe hemophilia cases have extremely low levels of clotting factors, amounting to less than one percent.
Symptoms depend on the severity of hemophilia:
Mild Hemophilia: Symptoms may only be a concern when surgery or dental work is required.
Moderate Hemophilia: Symptoms include easy bruising and bleeding. Otherwise mild abrasions (brushing teeth, scratching an insect bite) may cause bruising or bleeding.
Severe Hemophilia: Spontaneous joint bleeding can cause severe pain and physical deformity as cartilage and surrounding bones are damaged. Further, gastrointestinal, urinary tract, or intracranial bleeding can occur and require immediate medical attention. Even mild physical trauma to the head may result in intracranial bleeding, a very serious condition.
Physical Symptoms and Diagnosis
Hemophilia symptoms are often not apparent at birth unless the disorder is severe. Moderate hemophilia symptoms may not be noticed until a child starts to crawl, when unusual bleeding and bruising become more apparent. A mild case of hemophilia may go unnoticed until dental work, surgery, or a serious injury results in unusual bleeding.