Workers with hemophilia are at a much higher risk of stroke, developing a joint disease, or needing a knee or hip replacement than the general population, Taiwanese researchers report.
The study, “Risk of major comorbidities among workers with hemophilia: A 14-year population-based study,” was published in the journal Medicine.
One of the traits of hemophilia is increased bleeding into joints and muscles. This can lead to disabling arthritis, making it difficult to work or take part in social activities.
Treatment advances in the past few decades have led to a significant increase in hemophilia patients’ life expectancy and quality of life.
But working and participating in social activities can still be challenging. Patients with severe hemophilia in particular end up participating less in full-time work than the general population, and frequently report occupational disability.
No research has addressed the question of how hemophilia affects patients’ ability to work.
Taiwanese researchers decided to remedy that.
They started by obtaining medical records on hemophilia patients between 1997 and 2010 from the National Health Insurance Research Database.Then they compared the overall health of 411 hemophilia patients with a matched group from the general population.
Hemophilia patients were at much higher risk of developing a number of health conditions, the team discovered. They were 4.6-fold more likely to have a stroke, four times more likely to develop a joint disease — arthritis or arthropathy — and 1.29-fold more likely to need a knee or hip replaced.
These hemophilia-related health conditions increase the disease’s burden on society, the team said.
“Policymakers and employers should apply appropriate interventions to help prevent productivity losses, reduced workforce participation,” workers becoming disabled and workers having to take a lot of sick leave, the team wrote.
They called for research into whether clotting-factor inhibitors can increase the risk of hemophilia patients developing other conditions. They also called for studies that look at how the two broad categories of hemophilia treatment affect patient outcomes. One category is preventive treatment to head off bleeding episodes. The other is treating episodes as they arise.