Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a blood disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. Blood contains many proteins that help the body stop bleeding. One of these proteins is called von Willebrand factor (VWF). People with VWD either have a low level of VWF in their blood or the VWF protein doesn’t work the way it should.
Normally, when a person is injured and starts to bleed, the VWF in the blood attaches to small blood cells called platelets. This helps the platelets stick together, like glue, to form a clot at the site of injury and stop the bleeding. When a person has VWD, because the VWF doesn’t work the way it should, the clot might take longer to form or not form the way it should, and bleeding might take longer to stop. This can lead to heavy, hard-to-stop bleeding. Although rare, the bleeding can be severe enough to damage joints or internal organs, or even be life-threatening.
Hemophilia Treatment Centers treat inherited bleeding disorders. Northwell Health Hemostasis and Thrombosis Centers, through its specialized comprehensive clinic for Girls and Women with Bleeding Disorders, offers free annual educational programs that are open to health care professionals, the public and caregivers. These programs provide resources to help understand symptoms associated with bleeding disorders for timely diagnosis, outline treatment options and address long term care.
Talk to a physician at a Hemophilia Treatment Center near you, if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Excessive or prolonged bleeding, particularly after dental work, childbirth or surgery
- Significant bruising without injury
- Nose bleeds
- Joint bleeds
For further information or to check Northwell’s program schedules, contact Northwell directly at 718- 470-7380 or 718-470-7564.
Additional resources can also be found at the Foundation for Women & Girls with Blood Disorders.
Don’t be afraid, be informed. Bleeding disorders are treatable and with the proper care, you can live a quality life. Help is just a phone call away.