Today is World Hemophilia Day. Hemophilia is quite a rare bleeding problem. People with hemophilia do not bleed any faster than normal but they can bleed for a longer time, as their blood does not have enough clotting factor. Clotting factors are proteins in blood that controls bleeding. About 1 in 10,000 people are born with it.1
Dr. Asim Belgaumi the Deputy Division Chief – Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Sidra Medical and Research Center, advises parents of children with hemophilia to encourage their children to be active.
“It is understandable for parents with hemophiliac children to be overly cautious as their child is easily susceptible to bleeds or bruises. However, sport should be a very important part of their lives, as regular exercise can help build muscle and develop mental concentration and coordination. Stronger muscles can protect someone who has hemophilia from spontaneous bleeds and joint damage. Taking part in sports in a team setting also encourages other team members to look out for each other and learn what to do if a team mate with hemophilia is bruised or bleeding. This can also help build better awareness for the condition.”
It is important to note that some sports are riskier than others, and the benefits must be weighed against the risks. The severity of a person’s hemophilia should also be considered when choosing a sport. While contact sports like football, rugby and boxing are not recommended, sports like swimming, cycling, walking and badminton are considered safe for most people with hemophilia.2
“This year’s theme of Building a Family of Support is an apt one. We can all play a key role in bringing about change to increasing the level of support and improving the lives of people with hemophilia. It is important for the network of family, friends and the wider community to make sure that people and particularly children are able to live a normal life with the condition,” concluded Dr. Belgaumi.
While there is currently no cure for hemophilia, recent research developments in gene therapy have indicated that it holds the prospect of a partial or complete cure.
Sidra will be developing a comprehensive program for children with hemophilia, where patients will receive multi-disciplinary care for their disease. Because of the genetic links, Sidra’s clinical team will also work closely with our research division to help find better treatment methodologies and a cure for this debilitating illness.
For more information, please visit the World Federation of Hemophilia website on www.wfh.org.
1 & 2 - Information taken from www.wfh.org. Accessed on 9 April 2015.