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Living With Hemophilia

Alden Chadwick/

"It's been almost 25 years since Ryan White died of HIV, which he acquired from contaminated blood cells used to treat his hemophilia. Now, hemophilia rarely makes the news, which is just fine with Dr. Charles Nakar. Dr. Nakar is a pediatric hematologist. He said the difference these days is that treatment for hemophilia begins so much earlier, before the condition does its damage," said host Barbara Lewis.  

Interview highlights

Dr. Nakar: Children are different from the adults, because they live in a different era, where we have safe and effective medications. And we introduce prophylaxis therapy early in life. 

Lewis: Prophylaxis, that's therapy to prevent a problem rather than to treat it later.

Dr. Nakar: Most of the affected patients are actually boys, while the females, the girls, are carriers. 

Lewis: People who grew up before the current therapies became available often developed internal injuries, such as cranial hemorrhage and bleeding into the joints.

Dr. Nakar: Once they bleed into the joint, there's release of iron, for example, which is toxic to the joint. It causes some chronic changes. Chronic changes start with minimal chronic changes and then they became more severe and they affect the bone structure.