If you have hemophilia, you can take steps at home
to prevent bleeding episodes and improve your health.
Recognize bleeding symptoms.
Be active, but exercise with care.
Don't take nonprescription medicines unless your doctor tells you to.
Prevent injuries and accidents around your
Recognize bleeding symptoms
Many people who have hemophilia know when they are bleeding
even before there are many symptoms.
Bleeding in a joint
Bleeding into a joint (hemarthrosis), often without an injury, is the most common bleeding problem in people who have severe hemophilia. Bleeding usually occurs in one joint at a time. Bleeding may occur in any joint, but knees, elbows, and ankles are most commonly affected. Sometimes one particular joint, called a target joint, will tend to bleed most often.
Symptoms of bleeding into a joint include:
Warmth or tingling in the joint during the
early stages of hemarthrosis. This is called an aura. If bleeding is not
treated, mild discomfort can progress to severe pain.
inflammation in the joint, caused by repeated episodes of bleeding. If episodes
continue, the swelling may lead to chronic pain and destruction of the
An infant or child not wanting to move an arm or leg
because of bleeding into an affected joint. This is often first noticed when a child
begins to walk.
Bleeding in a muscle
Another common symptom of hemophilia is bleeding into a muscle (hematoma), which can be mild or severe. There are many possible symptoms of bleeding into muscle,
Pain, especially when large
muscle groups are affected.
It is important to begin infusion with
clotting factors as soon as possible after a bleeding
episode has started, before any physical signs develop. Even with treatment, bleeding is sometimes hard to control. Frequent bleeding episodes or a serious injury can lead to complications and excessive blood loss.
Work with your doctor to make a plan for
what to do if you or your child has a bleed.
Be active, but careful
People who have
hemophilia can help prevent bleeding episodes by
choosing appropriate exercises that keep their muscles and joints in good
shape. Exercise helps keep muscles flexible and strong and helps control
weight, lessening the likelihood of a bleeding episode. Before you or your
child participates in any sport, the family needs to learn how to administer
clotting factors at home. Injuries can then be treated
quickly. The sooner a bleeding episode is treated, the less damage bleeding
will do to muscles and joints.
People who have hemophilia need to be careful when they participate
in certain activities in order to prevent injury and serious bleeding.
Stretching and warming up with a few minutes of gentle exercise are important
because muscles will be less likely to be pulled or torn and therefore less
likely to bleed.
Some exercises and sports carry more risk for bleeding than others.
Some people who have hemophilia participate in any sport, regardless of the
risk, because they infuse with clotting factors beforehand.
It can be very hard to try to restrict your child with hemophilia
from playing a sport or being in an activity, especially when many of his
friends are doing it. Like most children, your son may be most concerned with
"fitting in." This conflict can be very hard for you and frustrating for your
child. Doctors who specialize in hemophilia can often help you and your child
handle this sensitive situation.
Sports and activities that are typically recommended for adults and
children who have hemophilia include:
Bicycling (be sure to wear
Sports that are possible but carry an increased risk of bleeding
Sports that have a high risk for bleeding include:
lifting (with heavy weights).
Take nonprescription medicine as directed
Follow your doctor's directions to take nonprescription medicine for pain relief. You might have pain caused by bleeding into the muscles and joints. Pain is a common
problem, and it is necessary to try to control it carefully.
Doctors often recommend acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, for pain relief
in people who have hemophilia. Although acetaminophen does not reduce swelling,
it is safer than other medicines. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can cause bleeding
in the stomach or intestines, interfere with blood clotting, and affect the
function of the cells that first plug a wound (platelets).
Acetaminophen does not have these side effects. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
people with hemophilia should not take include the
Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin
Medicines that contain
salicylate. This ingredient is closely related to aspirin. Alka-Seltzer,
Pepto-Bismol, and many cough medicines contain salicylates.
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as Aleve. These
medicines are designed to reduce swelling and reduce pain.
Prevent injuries and accidents
Because a bleeding episode often begins with an
injury, it is important to help prevent falls in the home.
Remove and repair household hazards that can
cause falls, including:
Slippery floors. Use nonskid floor wax, and
wipe up spills immediately.
walkways. Rearrange furniture to keep furniture out of walking
Throw rugs. Fasten area carpets to the floor with tape or
tacks, and do not use rugs that slip easily.
Electrical cords. Rearrange cords to keep them out of
Keep furniture or other items that have sharp edges
away from normal pathways through your house.
Remove square or rectangular coffee
Pad the rocks around fireplaces.
Take precautions when you go outdoors.
If you live in an area that gets snow and ice in the
winter, have a family member or friend sprinkle salt or sand on slippery steps and
Check the condition of your shoes on a regular
Check the heels and soles of your shoes for
Repair or replace worn heels or soles.
low-heeled shoes that fit well and give your feet good
Avoid loose-fitting shoes, which can cause you to lose
your balance and fall.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.