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Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

National Hemophilia Month: Project Red Flag

Project Red Flag is the National Hemophilia Foundation's (NHF) campaign to raise awareness about women's bleeding disorders. 2.5 million women in the US have bleeding disorders, most commonly von Willebrand disease (VMD). VMD is the most common of hemophilias (inherited blood diseases). Symptoms of VMD are:

      • easy bruising
      • heavy menstrual periods
      • nosebleeds
      • prolonged bleeding after dental work or surgery
Most women with VMD don't know they have it. Heavy menstrual bleeding is the number one Red Flag symptom of the disease in women. 30,000 women per year have a hysterectomy for heavy or prolonged periods. Some of these surgeries may be unnecessary in women with undiagnosed VMD - even dangerous for those who are undiagnosed due to excessive post-operative bleeding. Some patients are misdiagnosed with dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) without being screened for VMD (there are several blood tests that can be done). The CDC reported that it takes as long as 16 years from age of onset to diagnosis of the disease! Hemophilia and inherited blood disorders primarily strike men, but women are vulnerable too. If you have heavy periods, or other signs of VMD, discuss screening options with your doctor today. While there is no cure, just knowing the diagnosis will help protect against unnecessary complications.
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