To find out if a person has VWD, the doctor will ask questions about personal and family histories of bleeding. The doctor also will check for unusual bruising or other signs of recent bleeding and order some blood tests that will measure how the blood clots. The tests will provide information about the amount of clotting proteins present in the blood and if the clotting proteins are working properly.
Because certain medications can cause bleeding, even among people without a bleeding disorder, the doctor will ask about recent or routine medications taken that could cause bleeding or make bleeding symptoms worse.
Learn about tests to diagnose VWD
The type of treatment prescribed for VWD depends on the type and severity of the disease. For minor bleeds, treatment might not be needed.
The most commonly used types of treatment are:
Desmopressin Acetate Injection
This medicine (DDAVP®) is injected into a vein to treat people with milder forms of VWD (mainly type 1). It works by making the body release more VWF into the blood. It helps increase the level of factor VIII in the blood as well.
Desmopressin Acetate Nasal Spray
This high-strength nasal spray (Stimate®) is used to treat people with milder forms of VWD. It works by boosting the levels of VWF and factor VIII in the blood.
Factor Replacement Therapy
The medicines used in this treatment are rich in VWF and factor VIII (for example, Humate P®, Alphanate®, or Koate DVI®) and are used to treat people with more severe forms of VWD or people with milder forms of VWD who do not respond well to the nasal spray. These medicines are injected into a vein in the arm to replace the missing factor in the blood.
These drugs (for example, Amicar®, Lysteda®) are either injected or taken orally to help slow or prevent the breakdown of blood clots.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills can increase the levels of VWF and factor VIII in the blood and reduce menstrual blood loss. A doctor can prescribe these pills for women who have heavy menstrual bleeding.
Who is Affected
VWD is the most common bleeding disorder, found in up to 1% of the U.S. population. This means that 1.4 million (or about 1 in every 100) people in the United States have the disease. Although VWD occurs among men and women equally, women are more likely to notice the symptoms because of heavy or abnormal bleeding during their menstrual periods and after childbirth.
Source: Centers for Disease Control