Bleeding disorders are a group of conditions in which there is a problem with the body's blood clotting process. These disorders can lead to heavy and prolonged bleeding after an injury. Bleeding can also begin on its own.
Normal blood clotting involves as many as 20 different plasma proteins, which are known as blood clotting or coagulation factors. These factors act together with other chemicals to form a substance called fibrin that stops bleeding.
Problems can occur when certain coagulation factors are low or missing. Bleeding problems can range from mild to severe.
Some bleeding disorders are present at birth and are passed through families (inherited). Others develop from:
Bleeding disorders can also result from having poorly working or too few of the blood cells that promote blood clotting (platelets). These disorders can also be either inherited or picked up (acquired). The side effects of certain drugs often lead to the acquired forms.
Coller BS, Schneiderman PI. Clinical evaluation of hemorrhagic disorders: the bleeding history and differential diagnosis of purpura. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr., Shattil SJ, et al, eds. Hoffman Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008:chap 121.
Kessler C. Hemorrhagic disorders: Coagulation factor deficiencies. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 180.
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