Characterized by the inability for blood to clot properly, hemophilia is a hereditary medical condition that occurs in males more often than in females, and could affect the young as much as the elderly. In special cases, a change in an individual’s genes may also cause him to acquire it within his lifetime. Though hemophilia is rare, the World Federation of Hemophilia states that 75% of people around the world with bleeding disorders have not yet been diagnosed.
April is World Hemophilia month, and Blood Brothers Aid Inc., a non-profit organization based in the Philippines, aims to raise awareness about hemophilia in the country and to get more Filipinos to recognize the problem and help through blood or monetary donations.
Do you know someone who may suffer from hemophilia?
Following an injury, a person with hemophilia may take a longer time to heal from his wounds because his blood lacks the protein (clotting factor) instrumental in clotting. The usual symptoms of hemophilia include deep bruising, joint pain and swelling caused by internal bleeding, spontaneous bleeding (e.g. nosebleeds), or prolonged bleeding from cuts, after surgery, or after a tooth extraction. Hemophilia can be diagnosed by taking a blood sample and measuring the level of clotting factor activity in the blood.
Help bring treatment to the Philippines
Hemophilia is mainly treated with replacement therapy. Clotting factor concentrates taken from healthy blood is injected into a hemophiliac’s bloodstream. Once it reaches the affected area, bleeding is expected to slow down and eventually stop. This treatment has to be done shortly after injury so as to avoid further pain, as well as damage to the person’s muscles, joints, and organs.
Clotting factor concentrates, however, are not readily available in the Philippines. International groups or volunteers ship medicine in from other countries, though supplies are minimal. In the absence of these drugs, a person in need of replacement therapy would require blood or plasma transfusions, and are at the mercy of the limited supply of blood available in hospitals. There are reported incidents of deaths among hemophiliacs due to the long wait for blood donations.
That’s why it is important for those who might show signs of having hemophilia to be diagnosed at the soonest possible time. It is also why more Filipinos need to be made aware of the disorder, so that we can help provide the support and treatments necessary for people who suffer from it.
Become a Blood Brother
Take the first step into helping by joining the Blood Brothers Aid Inc. community via Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blood-Brothers-Aid-Inc/347564769650?fref=ts The page will guide you in learning more about hemophilia, how to help, where to donate, and how to spread the word.