Bleeding disorders are a group of conditions in which there is a problem with the body’s blood clotting process. These disorders can lead to heavy and prolonged bleeding after an injury. Bleeding can also begin on its own.
Acquired platelet function defects
Congenital platelet function defects Congenital protein C or S deficiency Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
Factor II deficiency
Factor V deficiency
Factor VII deficiency
Factor X deficiency Factor XII deficiency
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
Von Willebrand’s disease(types I, II, and III)
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Normal blood clotting involves as many as 20 different plasma proteins, which are known as blood clotting or coagulation factors. These factors act together with other chemicals to form a substance called fibrin that stops bleeding.
Problems can occur when certain coagulation factors are low or missing. Bleeding problems can range from mild to severe.
Some bleeding disorders are present at birth and are passed through families (inherited). Others develop from:
Illnesses such as
vitamin Kdeficiency or severe liver disease
Treatments such as the use of drugs to stop blood clots (anticoagulants) or the long-term use of antibiotics
Bleeding disorders can also result from having poorly working or too few of the blood cells that promote blood clotting (platelets). These disorders can also be either inherited or picked up (acquired). The side effects of certain drugs often lead to the acquired forms.
- Bleeding into joints
- Heavy bleeding
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
Which problems occur depends on the specific bleeding disorder, and how severe it is.
Signs and tests
- Complete blood count (
CBC) Bleeding time
- Partial thromboplastin time (
PTT) Platelet aggregation test
- Prothrombin time (
Treatment depends on the type of disorder. It may include:
Fresh frozen plasma transfusion
The outcome also depends on the disorder. Most primary bleeding disorders can be managed. Those due to diseases, such as DIC, depend on how well the disease that is causing the bleeding disorder is treated.
- Bleeding in the brain
- Severe bleeding (usually from the gastrointestinal tract or injuries)
Other complications can occur, depending on the disorder.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you notice any unusual or severe bleeding.
Prevention depends on the specific disorder.