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Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a bleeding disorder. People with VWD have low levels of a blood protein called von Willebrand factor, or the factor doesn’t work. Von Willebrand factor also carries clotting factor VIII, so people with VWD might not have enough of that clotting factor either. Any of those issues can cause blood clotting problems and heavy bleeding.

VWD is more common than any other inherited bleeding disorder, affecting up to 1 percent of the population. It is like hemophilia but is usually milder. Symptoms depend on the type and severity of the disorder; some patients do not even know they have VWD. The disorder is usually inherited, although other medical conditions can cause it. Even patients with one VWD gene who never display symptoms can pass the gene to their children.

Type 1 Von Willebrand Disease
Type 1 VWD, the mildest and most common type, is caused by low levels of von Willebrand factor and possibly low levels of factor VIII.

Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease
Type 2 VWD occurs when the von Willebrand factor doesn’t work. Different mutations can cause four different subtypes of Type 2 VWD. It is important for Type 2 patients to know their subtype, since each is treated differently.

People with types 1 and 2 generally have mild to moderate symptoms, including frequent, large bruising; frequent nosebleeds; blood in the urine or stool; heavy bleeding after accidents or surgery; and prolonged bleeding after dental work. Both types are caused by a faulty gene from one parent. Type 1 and 2 patients might not be diagnosed until an episode of heavy bleeding.

Type 3 Von Willebrand Disease
Type 3 VWD is the rarest and most severe form, occurs when patients have low factor VIII levels and no von Willebrand factor. Type 3 patients can have the same symptoms as Type 1 and Type 2 patients. They can also have unexplained, severe bleeding episodes, as well as pain and swelling from blood leaking into joints and soft tissues. Women might have heavier menstrual bleeding. Type 3 patients are usually diagnosed in infancy due to the severity of the disorder.

Proper treatment can help patients with any type of VWD live happy and healthy lives. Early diagnosis is important.

If you have VWD, you can take steps to prevent bleeding and stay healthy. It is important to communicate openly with your doctor, dentist, and other health care providers. They can recommend physical activity and tell you what medications are safe for you.

Consider wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace if you have a serious form of VWD (for example, Type 3). You might consider ordering a Diplomat StrapWrap® medical alert device. In case of a serious accident or injury, the health care team treating you will know you have VWD.

Sources: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alphanate®
Alphanate helps control bleeding during surgical procedures. It is used for Type 1 and Type 2 VWD patients who don’t respond to DDAVP or who react adversely to it. Learn more at alphanate.com.

Humate-P®
Humate-P is used to help VWD patients treat bleeding that occurs spontaneously or from trauma. It is also used to prevent bleeding during and after surgery for patients with severe VWD, as well as for patients with milder VWD who don’t respond to DDAVP. Learn more at humate-p.com.

Wilate®
Wilate is used to control bleeding in patients with VWD and to manage bleeding before, during, and after surgery. Learn more at wilateusa.com.

Products We Support

Programs


  • REBUILD logo

    Physical therapy is key to comprehensive hemophilia management. REBUILD facilitates training and connections between hemophilia patients and their local physical therapists.

  • IMPACT logo

    A comprehensive in-home inhibitor management program, IMPACT helps families affected by hemophilia with inhibitor options, education and personal support.

Resources

  • Can I Use Diplomat?

    Can I Use Diplomat?

    We provide benefits investigation and help verify your eligibility for our programs and services. Fill out a simple form and we’ll get in touch with you.
  • Financial Assistance

    Financial Assistance

    We help connect patients with nonprofit, manufacturer-sponsored and third-party funding options to keep therapy affordable.
  • Hemophilia of North Carolina Educational Scholarship Program

    Hemophilia of North Carolina Educational Scholarship Program

    All bleeding disorder patients, siblings, caregivers or parents pursuing higher education or professional training are encouraged to apply.
  • It’s Always About Nate

    It’s Always About Nate

    The fourth in the “Nate” series, this children’s story explores how bleeding disorders affect parents’ and siblings’ lives too—and how a little compassion can go a long way.
  • The Great Inhibinator

    The Great Inhibinator

    By working through his feelings with his family, six-year-old Nate finds a way to feel powerful despite his inhibitor diagnoses.
  • StrapWrap®

    StrapWrap®

    Able to fasten to seatbelts, bag straps and bicycles, the StrapWrapⓇ keeps medical history and information secure and accessible to emergency responders.
  • Hemophilia Newsletter

    Hemophilia Newsletter

    Stay current on news, tips, stories, advancements and more from the hemophilia community. Available via email or print.
  • Kids Hemophilia Calendar Contest

    Kids Hemophilia Calendar Contest

    Children with bleeding disorders and their families are invited to submit artwork for this year’s calendar contest.
  • Be a Hero Mat

    Be a Hero Mat

    This mat provides a clean surface to help children learn to infuse at home, with clear instructions and colorful illustrations.

Featured Technology

A mobile health care application for patients with hemophilia and related bleeding disorders. The app helps patients conveniently track their personal infusion records and bleeding event history, as well as share important injury and treatment information with members of their health care team.

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