Von Willebrand's disease

Von Willebrand's disease is an inherited bleeding disorder that prevents blood from clotting properly. In this disease, a protein in the body's blood system (von Willebrand factor) is missing or does not work well, and the blood cells (platelets) cannot stick together normally to form clots at the site of bleeding.

Symptoms of von Willebrand's disease may include excessive bleeding after injury, frequent nosebleeds, heavy menstrual flow, easy bruising, blood in the urine or stool, and bleeding from the gums. Equal numbers of men and women have this disease.

Von Willebrand's disease can be treated with home treatment, like not taking aspirin, and with medicine that increases the amount of von Willebrand clotting factor in the blood. Treatment also focuses on preventing and stopping bleeding.

Last Updated: November 24, 2008

Author: Robin Parks, MS

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology/Oncology

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