A family history of von Willebrand disease is the leading risk factor. A parent can pass the abnormal gene for the disease to his or her child.

Most cases are "autosomal dominant inherited" disorders, which means you only need an abnormal gene from one parent to be affected. If you have the gene for von Willebrand disease, you have a 50 percent chance of transmitting this gene to your offspring.

The most severe form of the condition (type 3) is "autosomal recessive," which means both of your parents have to pass an abnormal gene to you.

Jan. 02, 2014