Today is World Hemophilia Day!
Some days have a lot of holidays or observances that involve snacks and hanging out with your family. Pretty much every day has at least six or seven Christian Feast Days. But some days, you find yourself choosing between Flag Day in the American Samoa and World Hemophilia Day. Today is such a day.
Now, I am not an expert in blood clotting disorders, but there are lots of those. Today is a day where we should seek them out and learn just a little bit more about what “platelets” are and what happens when someone’s are messed up. Right? Right.
1) The most common blood clotting disease is called von Willebrand disease and the symptoms are fairly mild. Most people with VWD don’t even know they have it. Some of these people may also be Doberman Pinschers, the other group most likely to develop VWD. Are you one of these?
2) Hemophilia is condition wherein people lack enough of clotting factor VIII or IX in their blood. Together, these form the tenase complex. That is followed by clotting factor X, the Stuart-Prower factor. It’s all part of the coagulation cascade. I don’t know what any of that means, I’m sorry.
3) For a long time, it was believed that only men could develop hemophilia symptoms and that women acted as symptomless “carriers” of the disease. But it’s not true! Women can totally have symptoms…they also might not, and they could carry the disease and pass it on to their (male) children without ever knowing they have it. So good luck, ladies!
4) Some very rare blood disorders affect other clotting factors (like, say, XIII or V) but these are so rare that little is known about most of them. We do know that some of them have to be treated with “fresh frozen plasma” which sounds a little to me like when McDonald’s calls their chicken “fresh.”
5) This year marks the World Federation of Hemophilia’s 50th anniversary! Check out their website for more info on clotting disorders: http://www.wfh.org/en/
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you want to ride the Coagulation Cascade at Six Flags with me?