General Question

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Can hemophilia develop suddenly?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26789points) April 30th, 2011

At risk of sounding like a hypochondriac, I can’t decide whether or not this warrants a visit with a doctor.
Twice this week I have had very minor cuts and what seemed like excessive bleeding. Last night I cut my shin, not at all deep and very small, and it bled excessively for almost two hours despite the fact that I was consistently applying pressure. Earlier this week it wasn’t even a cut, but a small scratch that would not stop bleeding.
I know that hemophilia is rare, but also hereditary and my grandfather had severe hemophilia. Is it possible to develop hemophilia later in life?
I do not take aspirin or warfarin or any similar medications, so it isn’t a simple explanation like that. Could it be just a fluke thing that I had these two minor injuries that turned out to be bleeders, or should I be worried? I am a little unsure about going to the doctor and saying “I cut myself and it bled a lot.” I’m just not sure if this is something that should concern me, or if I’m fretting over nothing. I already know that “see a doctor” is the standard and safe response to medical questions, but I’d really appreciate it if it could be understood that I am not looking for a diagnosis. Just opinions. Thanks.

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32 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

No, haemophilia is genetic. You either have it or you don’t, you can’t aquire it. However, there are many different types of haemophilia with a wide spectrum of severity so I suppose it is possible you had a mild version and just never noticed before. There are also a wide range of other diseases that can alter blood clotting. Irregardless of any family history of haemophilia your symptoms merit being investigated by a doctor.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Lightlyseared I am a little bit confused by your response. Do you mean that hemophilia is not genetic, or that it is? I’m not being obnoxious about grammar, I’m genuinely unsure of what you mean. In any event, would a family history of hemophilia not put me in some kind of risk group?

By any chance could you share with me a few examples of the other diseases that can slow clotting?

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t see why you might not develop some sort of problem where your platelets become low, or some sort of clotting mechanism might not be working right.

The thing to remember about bleeding wounds is not only pressure, but keep the the area above your heart. If you cut your leg, at minimum put your legs up, best to lie flat. If you cut your finger, raise your arm up above the level of your heart along with applying pressure.

Possibly it is some sort of vitamin deficiency? I think C strengthens capilaries? Which reduces bruising, that is if I am right about this and it isn’t an old wives tale? So maybe you might see more bleeding when low on C? I’m really not sure about that, just thinking out loud.

You mentioned drugs that are obvious culprits, have you started any other medications that you might not be aware they might inhibit clotting?

Your doctor can run some blood tests like platelets and running time. And, maybe iron for good measure.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@JLeslie those all sound possible to me, too.

Overall, almost 2 hours of bleeding for a superficial cut seems excessive, right? I’m not overreacting?

JLeslie's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf It does seem long. How big was the cut? Did you give it time to really stop bleeding before walking around? How much blood do you think you lost? Was it a lot, or just wouldn’t completely stop bleeding? I wouldn’t panic, even if there is something weird going on it might self correct. Although, of course, this is nothing to take lightly, it can be very dangerous. If you have an upcoming doctors appointment you can make sure they do a CBC blood test, which includes the platelets and have indications for low iron. I am not sure if all doctors know to do running times and other tests, that might need a specialist? But, I would not run to a specialist yet.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@JLeslie I have no idea how much blood, I don’t think it was extreme – I mean, I didn’t get lightheaded or anything like that. I just bled consistently for 2 hours. It was bleeding enough that if I took the tissue or towel away to get a clean one, that the blood would run from right under my knee down to my ankle almost immediately. The cut itself is really, really minor. Maybe a bit less than ½” long and not at all deep. more like a scrape or as if the first layer of skin was taken off.
The scratch that I had the other day was even smaller, just a little dinky spot and it bled the same way. I almost want to say that it seems like my blood is watery. Does that make sense?

I don’t have any appointments coming up, but I think that if this happens again I will definitely make one. It has been at least two years since I’ve had bloodwork done at all, so I’m probably due to have everything checked out.

creative1's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf you can also call your primary care and ask them to just order the bloodwork without going in. I know when they run your blood they can also check all your vitimin levels as well all the rest of the normal checks because my doctor does mine every 6mths because of a past surgery I had. Maybe it would be worth a simple call just to have them do the bloodwork and then you can have them call you if there is anything there to go over it with you.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

OH! Fish oil! I recently added fish oil to my vitamin regimen. Could that do this??

@creative1 thanks, that is good advice.

SeaTurtle's avatar

Without having a PHD myself I was thinking along the same lines as @Lightlyseared . That it could be a mild form that you have.

Neurotic_David's avatar

So I will be honest and say that when I read your question from the menu I thought, “oh god, Neffie is being neurotic again” and then when I read the question and responses, I was not so sure, but still think you’re being at least a bit neurotic. :)

My advice: wait it out a few more months. Maybe it will go away.

Seaofclouds's avatar

There are many different clotting disorders that can cause prolonged bleeding times and not all of them are genetic. If you are really concerned about it and you can afford the trip to the doctor, I’d make the appointment, even if all you end up getting from it is a clean bill of health and peace of mind. It’s best to know what’s going on rather than finding out from something major happening (at least that’s my opinion).

cloudvertigo's avatar

I remember a spell where I was having prolonged nosebleeds. I noticed that a roommate and I had been drinking a lot of orange juice around that time and that less orange juice seemed to help. If you’re really worried about it get it checked out—that your grandfather was a hemophiliac is suspect. I checked the wikipedia page and it suggested that a deficiency of calcium might be a related cause and that vitamin D helps one to absorb this mineral. Fish oil is rich in D so maybe just have a glass of milk or two. . . . I should say: grumph, have two cookies, a glass of milk and call me in the morning!

Maybe just call a nurseline – a lot of cities offer that free.

SuperMouse's avatar

It is my understanding that a woman having hemophilia is very, very rare. According to this site, it is typically diagnosed in babies and young children.

Evolution probably took care of this for us ladies because a woman with hemophilia would likely have died with the onset of menstruation, therefore not passing on the genes.

cloudvertigo's avatar

Oh! Oh! Now I’m thinking. As vitamin D is known for increased uptake of calcium it may be that your body is depositing your blood bourn calcium at an increased rate—taking it out of solution and making it less available as a clotting factor. Therefore(!) you should take less fish oil for a while and see if that changes things . . .while having a glass of milk. Mmmmm milk!

BarnacleBill's avatar

Low levels of vitamin K will cause your clotting time to be longer. You need to go to the doctor and have a PT test run. This will analyze your clotting factors.

marinelife's avatar

There is another bleeding disorder that you could have. it is called Von Willbrand disease”

“Von Willebrand disease is the most common hereditary bleeding disorder.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Von Willebrand disease is caused by a deficiency of von Willebrand factor. Von Willebrand factor helps blood platelets clump together and stick to the blood vessel wall, which is necessary for normal blood clotting. There are several types of Von Willebrand disease.

Von Willebrand disease affects men and women equally. Most cases are mild. Bleeding may occur after surgery or when you have a tooth pulled. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can make this condition worse. Bleeding may decrease during pregnancy.

A family history of a bleeding disorder is the primary risk factor. In women with heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, von Willebrand is more common in Caucasian women than in African American women. The majority of women with heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding do NOT have Von Willebrand disease.”


I would go and get checked for it. It is difficult to diagnose unless you are checking for it.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@marinelife after I got off of here this morning I thought about it. My mother and my sister both have Von Willebrand, I don’t know how I forgot that.
@Neurotic_David of course!

Thanks everyone. I’ll call on Monday and at least see about some bloodwork.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Okay, now I have a nosebleed. I’m definitely going to get it checked out.

JLeslie's avatar

Fish oil! Yes I think it thins blood. Stop taking it and see if you get better. I know heart patients use it, so it makes sense it might increase running time. And, if your blood platelet count is low, you will have to stop the fish oil anyway to see if it goes back up.

What is most significant is this is new. Genetic disorders you would likely notice before this point, especially thin blood. Children fall down way more than adults. There could be some sort of underlying genetic problem, like the @marinelife suggests, but I think it is unlikely. I think new supplements or medications is way more likely.

Other things cause low platelet count if I remember like pernicious anema (have you ever been diagnoses with low B12?) leukemia (God forbid) and lupus (another God forbid). I don’t think you have any of these, because you would likely have other symptoms, except the B12 dificiency could go undetected for a while.

I doubt it has anything to do with vitamin D, although D is good to test for if you protect your skin from the sun, because so many people are deficient.

@SeaTurtle PhD?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I haven’t had any bloodwork recently. The last time, which has been a few years, everything was okay. I take a multivitamin and a B complex, but I haven’t had any testing done recently. The only thing that is new to my regimen is the fish oil, which isn’t a large amount, but maybe that’s behind it. I will probably call the doctor and have the bloodwork done anyhow. I never get nosebleeds and that freaked me out a tiny bit. Not that it is hard to freak me out… :)

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t be freaked.

snowberry's avatar

Vitamin K deficiency can cause the symptoms you mention. You can get vitamin K from a health food store, or in a shot (I believe they routinely give K shots to newborn babies). Here’s one of many links.

AstroChuck's avatar

Just chiming in to remind you that hemophilia is almost exclusively a male disorder.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@AstroChuck thanks, I didn’t know that before this thread. I did forget about the Von Willebrand’s that runs in my family, but I had no idea that hemophilia affects mostly men. This is why I love Fluther. :)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Hemophilia is genetic; it’s carried on the X chromosome and is recessive, which is why it’s mostly men that have it; women have a spare X chromosome to keep them safe. However, it could be something else, so do go to your doctor.

JLeslie's avatar

Vitamin K is a great idea as @snowberry suggests. Eat some leafy green veggies.

mcsnazzy's avatar

No, hemophilia is a genetic disorder caused by recessive genes. You are born with it and canot develop it later in life. It is what is called sex linked. It is carried on the X chromosome. It is almost always in males because if they have the gene on their only x, they have the disease. Females are carriers of the disease, meaning that they carry the affected chromosome, but rarely show symptoms.

snowberry's avatar

It’s often difficult to convince your doctor to order a blood test for vitamin K, and I don’t know if a doctor could be convinced to give you a shot of it. In that case you would have to be pro-active, and do some self care.

seekingwolf's avatar

It’s a genetic disease and it comes out in childhood.

You don’t happen to be a member of the Royal Family…? kidding

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I doubt a doctor would give a shot of K without a blood test. Fat soluble and all, you can overdose. I know that is not likely from one dose, but still, I think you need a blood test.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie Yep. But sometimes you can’t find a doctor who will take your concerns seriously. I have a neighbor who deals with this all the time. She is deathly ill with a number of diseases, and she must self care because no doctor will do the job properly.

Oh, but they’re still glad to take her money. “Yep honey, your’e sick all right. Come back next month.” She’s an RN and because all she can do is lie in bed, she has really researched her illnesses, and has taken enough classes and done enough research that she has close to a degree in nutrition. She knows more about her diseases, nutritional needs, and medications than her doctors do. I know because I’ve watched the interactions.

Unfortunately this is all too common, because I’ve seen it happen over and over. So in the case of Vitamin K, her doctors won’t do a blood test. She knows the concerns about not enough vs overdose, that you are supposed to get K from your food, etc. But her diet is limited because of a stomach condition, and so she takes Vitamin K.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I so very much agree, you have no idea.

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