Obesity and haemophilia

Welcome back to the Changing Haemophilia blog! This month we’ll be discussing how obesity can impact the lives of people with haemophilia, and the importance of staying active and healthy eating.


Published 2 October 2018 | 2 min read

What is obesity?

Simply put, obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. BMI is calculated using your weight, height, age and gender. Generally speaking, everyone should aim for a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 to know they are a healthy weight.¹

How does obesity impact people with haemophilia?

Obesity is an increasing issue within the general population, and it’s no different for the haemophilia community, roughly 50% of whom are estimated to have obesity.² ³ However, obesity can pose specific risks to people with haemophilia in addition to those it is known to cause in the general population (high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etc.). People with haemophilia and obesity are at a higher risk of additional problems such as:

  • Haemophilic arthropathy — otherwise known as joint disease in people with haemophilia. Having a high BMI puts a person with haemophilia at risk of arthropathy, regardless of the severity of their haemophilia. Arthropathy can cause pain, and decrease movement (range of motion) and ability to be physically active.² ³ This in turn can have a negative impact on quality of life²

  • Mental health consequences — people with haemophilia are already dealing with one chronic condition on a daily basis. If they also have obesity, the psychological / emotional impact of this can be significant. It can lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and dysfunctional eating behaviours, which of course decrease overall quality of life⁴ ⁵

  • Alterations in factor dosing — as factor dosing is based on your weight, being overweight can mean being given a higher dose of factor than you may actually need³

Stay active and eat healthy!

Staying physically active and having a healthy diet is important to prevent or battle obesity, decrease the risks of such problems. Not only will this help to manage your weight, but it can have a positive impact on joints and overall health in haemophilia!

man weight lifting

Our next blog posts this month will focus on practical advice for how to stay active safely, and tips for managing your eating habits in order to maintain a healthy weight.

Speak to your HCP if you are concerned about your weight to get specialist advice on a weight management plan that’s right for you.


  1. NHS choices. Obesity. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/. Accessed August 2018.
  2. Wong TE, et al. Am J Prev Med 2011; 41(6 Suppl 4):S369–S375.
  3. Young G. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program 2012; 2012:362–368.
  4. Djalalinia S, et al. Pak J Med Sci 2015; 31(1):239–242.
  5. Rankin J, et al. Adolesc Health Med Ther 2016; 7:125–146.