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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Hemophilia
Answer: Hemophilia A is a recessive disease that occurs when the trait is passed from a mother to her son on the X chromosome. Occasionally a new point mutation will occur to cause this problem. However, the recessive gene is the most common cause. Consequently, it is only seen in males. The gene passed from the mother is passed on by the X chromosome. It is due to a factor VIII deficiency and abnormal bleeding occurs when the level of factor VIII falls below about 5%. As a consequence, some individuals have more severe problems than others due to lower levels of intrinsic factor VIII. Spontaneous bleeding can occur, but usually is mostly present after trauma. The trauma can be minor. Treatment is usually reserved until the patient has a symptomatic bleeding spell. Then, treatment with factor VIII will stop the bleeding. This can be accomplished by administration of factor VIII. Previously, this was done with human serum resulting in a high incidence of AIDS. However, this problem appears to be over after discovery of ways to eliminate the virus without altering the factor VIII.