Coping with VWD Disease or Von Willebrand Disease

Coping with VWD Disease or Von Willebrand Disease

VWD disease, or Von Willebrand disease, is a genetic disease that is when you are missing the Von Willebrand factor in your blood causing your blood to have difficulty clotting.  This is a form of hemophilia discovered by Erik Adolf von Willebrand in 1870. Willebrand was a Finnish internal medicine doctor who took a special interest in blood and its coagulation process, leading him to discover this disease.  VWD disease is a bleeding disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot appropriately due to the lack of or defective VWD factor in the blood. The VWD factor is a clotting protein within the blood. This is a lifelong disorder that is passed on from either one of both parents to their child.  At this time it is not curable but people with this disease can live an active healthy life.

There are different types of Von Willebrand disease. 

Type 1:  This is the most common of the types.  It has the most mild signs and symptoms.  This is when the VWD factor in your blood is just low.  It can take some time to diagnose due to symptoms being so mild. 

Type 2: This type is when the VWD factor doesn’t function properly.  It doesn’t clot the blood the way that it should. Signs and symptoms are more significant.  

Type 3:  This is the most severe type.  VWD factor is completely missing from the person’s blood.  Signs and symptoms are severe. A major symptom can be bleeding into your joints and muscles.  You can only have this type of VWD is both parents pass on the gene to their baby.  


Depending on what type of Von Willebrand disease you have will depend on what symptoms you have.  With the most common type having very mild to no symptoms, sometimes it is hard to know if you have this disease at first.  Some symptoms can include excessive bleeding when injured, nosebleeds that do not stop after 10 minutes, blood in urine or stool, and easy bruising or lumpy bruises.  Another symptom is heavy or long menstrual bleeding in women. There are some signs that will help you know if the heavy menstrual bleeding is more than just a heavy period.  If you experience menstrual clots that are more than 2 inches in length. If you have a need to change your sanitary products more often than every hour. If you are having to use double sanitary products to maintain flow.  Or if you are having signs of anemia, tiredness, fatigue, or shortness of breath. 


If you experience any of these symptoms you should contact your doctor and they will run some tests to diagnose what is behind them.  Your doctor if he feels that VWD disease maybe what is causing your trouble will run some blood tests to diagnose you. These blood tests will test your levels to see if your VWD factor is low or mis