Busting myths in haemophilia

There are many misconceptions about haemophilia. See the flashcards below to dispel some of the most common of these.

If a person with haemophilia gets cut, they will bleed to death.

Not every bleed is life-threatening. People with haemophilia may present with bruising, or bleeding into muscles and joints, which if frequent, is associated with long-term damage.1

People with haemophilia only experience external bleeds, e.g. from a cut or graze.

People with haemophilia can also have spontaneous bleeding internally. The knee, ankle and elbow joints are most often affected.2

People with haemophilia have a short life expectancy.

With proper management, people with haemophilia today can look forward to a near normal life expectancy.2

Haemophilia A can get better with time.

Haemophilia A is a chronic, lifelong bleeding disorder caused by a lack of clotting factor VIII, which generally does not change over time.2

Children with haemophilia always have a family history of haemophilia.

While haemophilia is usually inherited, it occurs spontaneously in one-third of cases.3

Haemophilia only affects boys or men.

As the gene for haemophilia is linked to the sex chromosome X, the majority of people with haemophilia are men. Haemophilia can occur in women, but is rare.4

Iron, certain vitamins and peanuts can cure haemophilia.

Today there is no cure for haemophilia.2 Current treatment includes replacement therapy of the missing clotting factor VIII.5

Everyone with haemophilia A experiences the same symptoms.

Symptoms of haemophilia A can vary depending on the level of factor VIII. It can be categorised as mild, moderate or severe.5

Everyone who has haemophilia is a direct descendant from the English Queen Victoria.

There are many different types of bleeding disorders.6 Queen Victoria was a carrier of haemophilia B, caused by a lack of a different clotting factor than haemophilia A.7

People with haemophilia cannot play sports.

With proper treatment, people with haemophilia can enjoy a wide variety of sports e.g. swimming and running – but rough contact sports are usually not advised.2

All forms of haemophilia involve a deficiency in clotting factor VIII.

Haemophilia A is the most common form and results from a lack of clotting factor VIII. Haemophilia B is due to a lack of factor IX and haemophilia C from a lack of factor XI.8

Everyone with haemophilia will eventually become disabled due to joint damage.

The good news is that with proper preventative (prophylactic) treatment, people with haemophilia may be able to avoid frequent joint bleeds and long-term joint damage.9


1. University of California San Francisco. Hemophilia Signs and Symptoms. [Online].[Accessed March 2016].

2. World Federation of Hemophilia. About Bleeding Disorders, Hemophilia. [Online].. [Accessed March 2016].

3. Haemophilia Foundation Australia. Haemophilia. [Online]. [Accessed March 2016].

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hemophilia Facts. [Online].. [Accessed March 2016].

5. WFH. Guidelines for the management of hemophilia. 2012. [Online].. [Accessed March 2016].

6. National Hemophilia Foundation. Hemophilia A. [Online].. [Accessed March 2016].

7. National Hemophilia Foundation. History of Bleeding Disorders. [Online].. [Accessed March 2016].

8. Hemophilia Information. Types of Hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. [Online].. [Accessed March 2016].

9. Nisson M, Berntorp E et al. Twenty-five years' experience of prophylactic treatment in severe haemophilia A and B. Journal of Medicine. 1192; 232(1):25-32.

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