Rare Bleeding Disorder: von Willebrand's Disease
A significant number of people have a rare bleeding disorder, called von Willebrand disease and don't know they have it.
Balintfy: A significant number of people have a rare bleeding disorder, called von Willebrand disease and don't know they have it.
Shurin: And that happens for a couple of reasons. One is you just may never have the kind of challenge or experience in your life that would make everybody sort of sit up and say, "Gee, that person bled a whole lot too much."
Balintfy: Dr. Susan Shurin is the Deputy Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
Shurin: The other is that in many cases, the bleeding manifestations are hard to determine whether it's normal or abnormal.
Balintfy: Dr. Shurin explains that this is an unusual disorder of blood clotting.
Shurin: It is usually an inherited disease, almost always an inherited disorder. And people who have Von Willebrand have a tendency to bleed in excess. They often also will have some difficulty in healing wounds so that scars will be left or it will take a long time for tissue to heal.
Balintfy: For the many people who have bleeding and blood disorders, blood transfusion has been lifesaving. Dr. Shurin explains that blood donation is the source of that crucial treatment.
Shurin: This is a gift, that blood transfusion, somebody has to make the altruistic gift of blood donation. And for most people who receive transfusions, a blood transfusion may be the difference between life and death. It's hard to overemphasize what a gift that is.
Balintfy: For more information on blood diseases and giving blood, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Susan Shurin, Deputy Director,
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Topic: von Willebrand's Disease