Hemophilia is not a condition you can “catch” – it is hereditary, meaning it is passed on from one or both parents to the child, who then carries the gene for hemophilia, and has the condition from birth.
People with hemophilia, commonly referred to as hemophiliacs, have a problem with clotting in their blood. Clotting is the process by which your blood forms a solid plug to help stop bleeding. Because people with hemophilia are lacking one of several blood-clotting proteins, called factors, they bleed for a longer time than others. This doesn’t mean that they bleed more profusely or quickly than others, just that they don’t stop bleeding as quickly.
Hemophiliacs don’t have a problem with minor cuts, which is a common myth. The real danger is from internal bleeding, or hemorrhaging. Bleeding in joints like the knees elbows, and ankles, or into tissues and muscles, can be a real problem and can lead to swelling and pain in the affected area, and even permanent damage. When bleeding happens in a vital organ, especially the brain, it can put the person’s life in danger.