A body’s inability to effectively clot blot is most commonly evident through symptoms like excessive and prolonged bleeding. Often this bodily malfunctioning can be attributed to one of two disorders: hemophilia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
Below are some of the differences between these structurally divergent—yet symptomatically similar—disorders.
Hemophilia is a rare blood disorder caused by a lack of clot factor protein and is most often inherited genetically through the X chromosome.
There are over 20 kinds of clot factor proteins. The most common form of hemophilia, type A, involves the absence or malfunctioning of factor VIII. Similarly, hemophilia type B entails a lack or improper functioning of factor IX. Although females carry the hemophilia gene, often asymptomatically, the disorder occurs primarily in males. Blood tests are required to determine the specific type and severity of the hemophilia.
Symptoms include excessive, prolonged bleeding or bruising, with complications arising from internal bleeding being particularly life-threatening.
Seeing as hemophilia is almost always genetically-based, symptoms can be present from birth, such as excessive bleeding resulting from the cutting of the umbilical cord. If a family history of hemophilia is known, prenatal testing is sometimes administered, potentially diagnosing hemophilia in a fetus just 12 weeks into pregnancy.
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)
Unlike genetically-rooted hemophilia, ITP stems from a malfunctioning autoimmune system that produces blood platelet-disabling antibodies. Platelets are cells essential to the blood clotting process, and defective blood clotting in the case of ITP results primarily from this low platelet count.
ITP tends to develop with time, as opposed to hemophilia, which is present since birth. Although children may develop a temporary case of ITP in conjunction with a viral infection, contracting ITP as an adult is most often chronic. More common among females, ITP is caused by several factors, including an overactive spleen, certain drugs, and concurrent illnesses like lupus or HIV.
Symptoms include rash clusters of small red or purple spots, blood in stools or urine, heavier-than-normal menstrual cycles, and unwarranted nosebleeds. Some forms of ITP are largely asymptomatic.
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