Simplifying Therapy for von Willebrand DiseaseDiplomat Specialty Infusion Group supports patients throughout treatment.
VWD is the most common inherited bleeding disorder. It affects about 1% of the U.S. population, and women have the condition as often as men.
Von Willebrand factor is a protein in the blood. When you’re bleeding, the protein helps your body form a stable clot. People who have VWD either don’t produce enough von Willebrand factor, or the factor they do produce doesn’t function well. This can lead to heavy bleeding after injuries. The bleeding can be life-threatening depending on the type of VWD you have.
People might not be aware they carry the gene for VWD, or even that they have VWD. They might pass the gene on to their children without knowing it.
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What are the symptoms of von Willebrand disease?
Symptoms of VWD are usually mild, such as frequent bloody noses or bleeding from the mucous membranes. Some people can have more significant issues, such as spontaneous bleeding into the joints. Your symptoms will usually depend on what type of VWD you have.
What are the different types of von Willebrand disease?
There are three types of VWD. Each one causes different kinds of symptoms and is treated differently.
- Type 1 VWD occurs in 70–80% of all people who have VWD. If you have Type 1, you have lower levels of von Willebrand factor in your blood than normal. Your bleeding symptoms will usually be mild. You might have bloody noses, bruising, bleeding from your mucous membranes, or heavy periods. You might also have bleeding issues after having surgery or giving birth.
- Type 2 VWD occurs in about 20% of all people who have it. If you have Type 2, your body makes enough von Willebrand factor, but the factor doesn’t work right. There are several subtypes of Type 2 that each have their own treatment plan. Depending on how your von Willebrand factor works, your symptoms can be the same as Type 1, or they can be more severe — especially after an injury or surgery.
- Type 3 VWD is the rarest and most severe form, affecting 5–10% of people who have VWD. If you have Type 3, you have little to no von Willebrand factor. Your symptoms will be similar to a person who has severe hemophilia — you might have spontaneous bleeding into joints and bleeding in your muscles. Women who have Type 3 usually have severe menstrual bleeding. These bleeding episodes start early — people who have Type 3 are often diagnosed as infants.
All three types of VWD above are inherited. There is also a non-inherited type called acquired VWD, which can occur in people who have other serious medical conditions. In this type of VWD, the body suddenly rejects its own von Willebrand factor. Acquired VWD is extremely rare. dAccording to one study, only 1–5% of VWD is the acquired form.1
1. Sabih, Ayan, and Hani M. Babiker, “Von Willebrand Disease,” StatPearls, January 2019
How does von Willebrand disease affect women?
Women who have VWD often have more significant bleeding issues than men, particularly with menstruation (periods). When you have VWD, your periods can be so heavy that they cause chronic anemia (lack of iron in the blood). You might also bleed heavily after giving birth. These symptoms can lead to unnecessary surgeries, such as uterine ablation or hysterectomy (removing part or all of the uterus).
Because bleeding disorders in women are less common than in men, your family doctor or gynecologist might not consider VWD as a cause for your bleeding episodes. If you have heavy periods or other heavy bleeding, consider asking your gynecologist to test you for VWD. For helpful information, you can also visit our SWAN Program page for women who have bleeding disorders.
How does Diplomat help people with von Willebrand disease?
Everyone who has a bleeding disorder needs special consideration. It’s important to have a treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs — and to have the support that helps you succeed on that plan.
Diplomat Specialty Infusion Group dispenses medication to help control your VWD and prevent bleeding episodes. We will develop a custom treatment plan, and we’ll coordinate your care with your healthcare team to make sure the plan works for you. We’ll help you understand your treatment plan, medications, and the risks of your unique diagnosis. Then, we’ll support you throughout your treatment — helping you meet insurance requirements, find third-party financial assistance if you need it, and get answers to your questions.
Ultimately, we work to reduce your bleeding episodes and improve your quality of life. You might face challenges and obstacles along your treatment path, and we have a variety of programs and services to help you and your family.
Remember: The information here — and on linked sites — is not meant to replace advice, care, or a diagnosis from your physician. If you have questions about your condition, please ask your provider.
The information contained herein may not be construed as medical advice. It is for educational purposes only. Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. takes no responsibility for the accuracy or validity of the information contained herein, nor the claims or statements of any manufacturer.
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