Health A-Z

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People with severe hemophilia often develop bleeding problems within the first two years of life. Many infants are diagnosed when they have prolonged bleeding after circumcision. Others are diagnosed in childhood. They may develop excessive bruising and bleeding into joints after typical childhood injuries.

People with mild hemophilia may not be diagnosed for decades. Diagnosis may only occur after they experience abnormal bleeding after trauma, injury or surgery.

If your doctor suspects that you have hemophilia, he or she will ask how often you bleed and how severely. Your doctor will also ask if anyone in your family has a bleeding problem.

Your doctor will examine you. He or she will focus on evidence of past bleeding into the skin, muscles and joints.

A variety of blood tests will show if your blood has a clotting defect. The diagnosis of hemophilia A or B or factor XI deficiency can be confirmed by examining specific clotting factors.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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