Doha: 1 July 2021: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is raising awareness of hemophilia, educating patients and their families on the causes, symptoms, and the treatment options available, and encouraging people with a bleeding disorder to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes hemophilia as a hereditary bleeding disorder resulting from a partial or total lack of an essential blood clotting factor. The impact of hemophilia can range from mild, moderate to severe; if untreated, these frequently occurring spontaneous bleeding events can be life-threatening. Common symptoms of the bleeding disorder include frequent nosebleeds, unexplained and uncontrolled bleeding, and bruising.
There are three main types of hemophilia; Hemophilia A, which results from a deficiency in clotting factor VIII (8) is the most common form and accounts for around 80 percent of cases. Hemophilia B is a deficiency in clotting factor IX (9) and is a gender-linked recessive disorder that is more common in males than females. Hemophilia Cis caused by low levels of factor XI (11) and is associated with bleeding but differs from hemophilia A and B in cause and bleeding tendency.
Scientific studies show that 1 in 5000 males are born with either Hemophilia A or B. Hemophilia affects both males and females from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Almost 30 percent of hemophilia A patients receiving factor VIII treatment may develop inhibitors that stop working.
Dr. Ussama Al Homsi, chairman, Medical Oncology and Hematology, National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), explained: "When a person without hemophilia bleeds, normal blood levels of clotting factor, a protein in the blood, induce the blood to clot and the bleeding to cease. However, people who have hemophilia have low levels of clotting factor in their blood, which causes bleeding to last considerably longer."
"We offer a full range of services to care for patients with hemophilia. Our experts focus on diagnosing and treating all types of blood disorders, including hemophilia. We work collaboratively with our colleagues and partners to ensure our patients receive the right care, at the right time, as part of our commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of our patients," added Dr al-Homsi.
Dr. Ahmed Abd Elaziz Bahey Abd Elbari, Clinical Pharmacist at HMC said: "Our team is dedicated to raising awareness and advocating for people affected by different kinds of bleeding disorders in Qatar. Patients with hemophilia need to receive deficient clotting protein intravenously, between one and three times a week, to prevent joint and muscle bleeds. Gene therapy for hemophilia A and B is currently being tested with promising results that have seen the clotting factor levels rise to prevent spontaneous bleedings with only one injection.”
Dr. Bahey also emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and regular exercise to strengthen the immune system as well as keeping an adequate supply of clotting factors during travel outside Qatar to prevent and manage emergency bleeding.
Dr. Mohammed Abulaban, Senior Pediatric Consultant and Head of Pediatric Hematology, expressed his support towards this awareness activity because it is crucial to educate
the public, patients and families about the disease and increase their understanding of how to deal with bleeding in case of an emergency.
“One of our top priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure people are willing to take the vaccine. With COVID-19 still a threat the health of our population, we urge people with hemophilia to get vaccinated when their opportunity comes. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and there are no complications associated with vaccination for people with hemophilia,” Dr. Al Homsi concluded.
Adult hemophilia patients can get help and follow up in NCCCR (16 years or above) while pediatric patients below 16 years of age can follow up either in the Pediatric Continuity Clinic at Hamad General Hospital or Sidra Medicine.
Additionally, hemophilia patients can get specialized musculoskeletal assessment, in HMC ‘s Bone and Joint Center. In the event of an emergency, unusual bleeding incident, people with hemophilia must visit one of HMC’s emergency departments immediately.