Answers to the community's most common hemophilia-related questions

Q. How can I find out if I have or my child has hemophilia?

A. If you have or your child has any signs or symptoms of hemophilia A or hemophilia B, see a health care provider immediately. Your health care provider will perform a physical examination, take a family history, and, if hemophilia is suspected, order blood tests to confirm a diagnosis. These tests measure how long the blood takes to clot and whether clotting factors in the blood are low or absent.

Q. What are plasma-derived clotting factor products?

A. Plasma-derived clotting factor products are produced using donated human blood. To make these products, the plasma is processed to separate the desired clotting factors.

Q. What is a recombinant clotting factor product?

A. Recombinant clotting factor products are produced using recombinant DNA technology, a technique used to create clotting factor proteins in a laboratory instead of from human materials. In the case of hemophilia, the genes that code for the production of factor VIII and factor IX are isolated and transferred to host cells. The host cells then produce large amounts of the desired clotting factor, which is put through multiple purification steps before being packaged for use.

Q. What can a person with hemophilia do to try to stay healthy?

A. People with hemophilia may follow basic approaches to maintaining good health. These include preventive care, physical therapy and exercise, and practicing a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your health care provider about healthy lifestyle choices. Physical therapy and exercise can help improve and/or maintain muscle strength and flexibility. It is especially important that muscles surrounding joints receive appropriate physical therapy and exercise as part of the recovery from joint bleeding. Developing strong muscles can help protect and cushion the joints, which may result in fewer bleeds into the joint. An exercise program that takes safety precautions into account can be developed with a physical therapist. The right nutrition and stress management are important parts of a healthy lifestyle for patients with hemophilia, as well as their families. Strategies to prevent injury should also be followed. Special attention may be required with regard to sports and travel. Immunizations in young patients with hemophilia may require special management. A health care provider can provide you with special instructions.

Q. What can I do to help my child with hemophilia stay healthy?

A. The same basic steps mentioned above also apply to children, except that a parent or other caregiver performs daily care activities. A child with hemophilia will need to be taught about his or her disease and its management. Gradually, your child may be able to take on some of the self-care needed to address his or her hemophilia.

Q. Can my child participate in physical activities?

A. Physical activity is encouraged for children with hemophilia. Initially, most parents and caregivers are concerned that their child/children won't be able to participate in the same activities as their peers. Most children with hemophilia can participate in a host of activities, including swimming, bicycle riding (with a helmet), walking, and golf. Contact sports such as football, hockey, wrestling, and boxing are not recommended. Check the National Hemophilia Foundation's recommendations on activity risks, and always talk with a health care provider about safe, appropriate activities.

Q. How can I get help with financial issues?

A. Assistance is available through Pfizer Patient Assistance Program and the Pfizer Factor Savings Card.* You may also get help at your local chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation or at your local hemophilia treatment center (HTC).

*Terms and Conditions apply.

Q. I'm interested in trying a Pfizer factor product. Where would I start?

A. With your health care provider. Only he or she knows what treatment is right for you and can help determine if you're eligible to receive a one-time, 1-month supply up to 20,000 IU of Pfizer factor at no cost. Click here for more information.

Terms and Conditions apply.

You must be currently covered by a private (commercial) insurance plan.

Q. Where can I get more information about hemophilia care and treatment?

A. Decisions about patient care must be made with a health care provider who can assess the special needs of each patient. Education and support groups for people living with hemophilia are available throughout the country, as are HTCs. HTCs provide a range of comprehensive services to meet the physical, emotional, psychological, educational, financial, and vocational needs of patients and families within one treatment facility.

Here at Hemophilia Village, you'll find a range of information about hemophilia, its treatment, and related programs and services. To ensure that you're getting the latest news available from Hemophilia Village, become a member.