Hemophilia: Life-threatening bleeds

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In hemophilia, life threatening bleeds are rare, but important to recognize. Learn the type of bleeds to look out for.

Life-threatening bleeding is rare, but it is important to recognize. It may include bleeding in the brain, throat bleeds and chest bleeds.

Bleeding in the brain

Head bleeds are serious and can be life-threatening. Blood accumulates quickly in the tight space inside your skull. By not acting right away, you can end up with serious damage that is more severe than what can happen to your joints.

You may be experiencing a head bleed if you feel any of the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • blurred vision
  • nausea or vomiting
  • mood or personality changes
  • drowsiness
  • loss of balance or coordination
  • weakness or clumsiness
  • stiffness of the neck
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizures.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is enough to be concerned. Because the consequences of head bleeds can be severe, you do not have time to wonder, doubt, second-guess, or research what is going on. This is why it is important that you are aware of the all the possible symptoms so you can respond right away.

If you think you have a head bleed:

  • Go to the local emergency room right away.
  • If you can infuse at home quickly, do so.
  • If you have factor product at home, bring it with you to the emergency room.
  • Tell the nurse at the front desk that you have hemophilia and that you think you are bleeding inside your brain.
  • Have your health information with you and the contact information for your comprehensive care team (CCT).

You will need factor infusion to correct your level to 100%.

Throat bleeds

Throat bleeds are serious because they can interfere with your airway, making it difficult for you to breathe. This is why you have to deal with throat bleeds immediately. Head to your local emergency room. Try calling ahead if possible.

Chest bleeds

Every time we inhale oxygen from the air, blood delivers it to the tissues inside our body. At the same time, cells release their waste in the form of carbon dioxide, back into the blood, which we exhale out of our bodies. Your heart circulates all of the blood throughout your body.

Anything that interferes with our ability to breathe can be life-threatening. Internal bleeds take up valuable space inside your body. When a bleed happens inside your chest, you cannot take a breath properly. Your heart also starts having difficulty pumping blood. There is no use in pumping your blood around if it does not contain any oxygen.

You may be experiencing a chest bleed if you have difficulty breathing. If you suspect a chest bleed, go the emergency room right away.

Last updated: March 13th 2019