Complications of hemophilia may include:

  • Deep internal bleeding. Bleeding that occurs in deep muscle can cause your limbs to swell. The swelling may press on nerves and lead to numbness or pain.
  • Damage to joints. Internal bleeding may also put pressure on your joints, causing severe pain. Left untreated, frequent internal bleeding may cause arthritis or destruction of the joint.
  • Infection. People with hemophilia are likelier to have blood transfusions, increasing their risk of receiving contaminated blood products. Blood products became safer after the mid-1980s due to screening of donated blood for hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The risk of infection through blood products also has decreased substantially since the introduction of genetically engineered clotting products (recombinant factor concentrates).
  • Adverse reaction to clotting factor treatment. In some people with hemophilia, the immune system has a negative reaction to the clotting factors used to treat bleeding. When this happens, the immune system develops proteins (known as inhibitors) that inactivate the clotting factors, making treatment less effective.
Sep. 11, 2014

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