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What is a bleeding disorder

Bleeding disorders are a group of disorders that share the inability to form a proper blood clot. Symptoms include extended bleeding after injury, surgery, trauma, or menstruation. Sometimes the bleeding is spontaneous, without a known or identifiable cause. Improper clotting can be caused by defects in blood components such as platelets and/or clotting proteins, also called clotting factors.


The body produces 13 clotting factors. If any of them are defective or deficient, blood clotting is affected; a mild, moderate or severe bleeding disorder can result.

If you think you might have a bleeding disorder, consult an expert. Hematologists are experts in bleeding disorders. They can diagnose your bleeding disorder, provide guidance for managing your bleeding disorder, and prescribe the treatments and therapies to ensure your best possible outcome

Types of bleeding disorders


Hemophilia A, B, & C

Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder where you are missing or have a deficiency of clotting factor. This means your blood cannot successfully form a clot. Hemophilia A & B are hereditary. Because it is an X-chromosome-linked condition, males are more typically affected and therefore more frequently diagnosed. Over 1.1 million people worldwide are living with hemophilia, and about 30,000 - 33,000 are living with it in the United States.  All races and economic groups are affected equally.

Von Willebrand Disease

vWD Type 1, 2, 3, or 4

Acquired or von Willebrand Syndrome


vWD is the most common type of bleeding disorder, affecting an estimated one percent of the world's population. It affects females and males equally. However, because symptoms can be mild, many affected people have not been diagnosed or do not get diagnosed until later in life.

Platelet Disorders

Bernard-Soulier Syndrome

Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia

Platelet Storage Pool Disease

Platelets play an important role in blood clotting, so when a person has a low number of platelets, too many platelets or their platelets don't work the way they should, they have a platelet disorder. People with platelet disorder take longer to stop bleeding.

Platelets are tiny, irregularly shaped blood cell pieces (called fragments) that play an important role in the making of blood clots.  When an injury occurs and a blood clot is needed, the platelets become sticky and help plug the site of the injury. They attract other proteins needed in the clotting process and they help form a stable clot. There are several ways that platelets may not work properly, which result in platelet disorders. Some platelet disorders are not fully understood and may result in a diagnosis of an "unspecified platelet disorder."

Rare Bleeding Disorders

Factor I, II, V, VII, X,XI, XII, & XIII

Rare  bleeding disorders are deficiencies in certain clotting factors. In general, these rare bleeding disorders are passed down in an autosomal recessive fashion, which means they affect men and women equally. This also means that when the factor deficiency is inherited from only one parent, the child will be a carrier of the condition, though he or she will not have symptoms. New mutations may also appear; in these cases, the family history will be negative.

  • Afibrinogenemia: No fibrinogen is present in the body.

  • Hypofibrinogenemia: Some fibrinogen with normal structure is present but below levels needed for normal clotting.

  • Dysfibrinogenemia: Normal amounts of fibrinogen are manufactured by the liver, but they don't clot properly.

Women with Bleeding Disorders

Check out our new page for more information on Females Who Bleed.

Resources: HFA and NBDF

For more information on bleeding disorders you can click below for the following websites.

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