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Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder that has received a lot of coverage over the years, but are you familiar with Von Willebrand Disease? Like hemophilia, it causes excessive bleeding, but is a different condition.

What is Von Willebrand Disease?

Named after Dr. Erik von Willebrand, the Finnish physician who first identified it, Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) is predominantly a genetic condition passed from affected parents to their children. Those afflicted may not realize it for a number of years after birth. The condition usually becomes apparent when the person experiences abnormally high amounts of bleeding after routine medical or dental procedures. Anyone experiencing these issues then sees a hematologist for an official diagnosis.


Subjects lack a particular clotting protein, known as the von Willebrand factor (VWF), which also results in recurrent nosebleeds lasting longer than 10 minutes and instances of easy bruising. Women may also experience heavier than normal bleeding during menstrual cycles, causing anemia in rare cases. The disease does not affect one gender more than the other, and generally occurs in 1% of the population.

Four Types There are three different types of Von Willebrand Disease and a form of acquired VWD.

  • The most common is Type 1, found in 60-80% of clients. These individuals have a milder form of the disease and fewer symptoms. Type 1 sufferers typically retain 20-50% of the regular VWF levels.
  • 15-30% of clients have Type 2 and this classification is broken down into four sub-groups. Symptoms range from mild to moderate. People in this category produce a regular amount of VWF in their body, but it is ineffective at stopping bleeding in the standard fashion.
  • 5-10% of clients have Type 3, the most severe form, and produce little or no VWF. Bleeding can occur spontaneously and be quite serious. Sufferers can also experience bleeding in their muscles and joints.
  • It is also possible to acquire Von Willebrand Disease because of certain heart conditions, cancer, autoimmune diseases, or as a side effect from some medications. This is quite rare, fortunately.

Treatment There is no cure for Von Willebrand Disease, but it is manageable with medication. Among these is desmopressin acetate, which stimulates cells to release VWF. It is available as a monthly nasal spray or injection, and side effects include fluid retention.

In 2015, the FDA approved Vonvendi and it is now available to the public. This treatment also replaces the missing VWF in clients and does so with few side effects, often resolving bleeding episodes with a single infusion.

Von Willebrand Disease requires a specific sort of care, so it is important to have this condition known to first responders. An Emergency ID bracelet provides just that sort of vital information, allowing medical personnel to provide the most accurate and effective treatment in time sensitive emergencies. Contact the knowledgeable team at Emergency ID toll free at 1.888.999.3963 (9-4 EST, Weekdays) to learn more about how our affordable and effective medical ID jewelry can genuinely save your life.

Image Copyright: designer491 / 123RF Stock Photo

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