Hemophilia A - Factor VIII

Hemophilia A, also called factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency, is a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective factor VIII, a clotting protein. Most often it is an inherited bleeding disorder, passed down from parents to children, however, about 1/3 of cases are caused by a spontaneous mutation, a change in a gene. People with hemophilia A often bleed longer than other people. Bleeds can occur internally - into joints and muscles, or externally - from minor cuts, trauma, or dental procedures. The frequency and severity of those bleeds depends on how much factor VIII is in the plasma, which is the straw-colored fluid portion of blood.

The main medication to treat hemophilia A is a concentrated FVIII product, called clotting factor or simply factor. These factor therapies are infused intravenously through a vein in the arm or a port in the chest. Access to factor for the poor in developing countries is limited. Often the medical facilities simply do not have factor or it is too expensive. Persons with hemophilia living in poverty will frequently go without proper treatment and try to manage their bleeds with less effective methods such as ice, rest, and homeopathic remedies. When it is not properly treated, hemophilia can lead to severe crippling, brain damage and death.