What Is Acquired Hemophilia?
The majority of hemophilia cases are genetic, affect males and are diagnosed fairly early in childhood. However, there are rare cases of hemophilia that develop later in life and are called “acquired hemophilia.”
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Acquired hemophilia is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks blood clotting factor VIII and inhibits its function, leading to excessive bleeding. The disease affects males and females equally but usually develops later in life.
Around half of acquired hemophilia cases are considered idiopathic acquired hemophilia, meaning there is no known cause. Acquired hemophilia can often be attributed to associated autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis. But cancer and other diseases may also bring on the condition and in very rare cases certain drugs can cause the disease to develop. Some women may experience the condition three months to a year after pregnancy, which accounts for the majority of acquired hemophilia cases in women under the age of 40. (Source onlinelibrary)
Acquired hemophilia is an extremely rare condition affecting around one in a million. It’s usually diagnosed when patients present prolonged bleeding, or extensive bruising on the truck, legs and arms which looks very different from usual injury-related bruising. A simple blood test can determine if there a lack of clotting factor VIII.
If left untreated, acquired hemophilia can be very serious and life-threatening. However, it is easily treated once diagnosed with immunosuppressive drugs and injections of clotting factor.
MORE: Six self-care tips for people living with hemophilia.
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