Treat fast — never ignore a bleed

Welcome back to the Changing Haemophilia blog! This month we are talking about bleeding episodes and how to identify a bleed so that we can treat it — FAST!


Published 26 June 2018 | 3 min read

Haemophilia is unpredictable and it is important to remain vigilant when monitoring the disease. The World Federation of Haemophilia recommend that a bleed should be treated as quickly as possible, preferably within two hours.¹ So how can we make sure that we are ready to treat within this short window of time? A key is being able to spot the signs and symptoms, especially the early ones. Make sure you speak with your HCP for the correct way to recognise symptoms of a bleed.

How to spot the signs and symptoms of a bleed

Advanced or later symptoms of a bleed can be more obvious, such as severe pain and swelling in the joints; however, the early signs are more difficult to spot.

Signs and symptoms of a bleed:¹- ³

If you suspect you may have a bleed, don’t ignore it and treat it fast.¹ If you are a parent or carer you will know that symptoms are easier to spot in adults or older child, than in younger ones. Therefore, they need closer observation.⁴ In addition, children can sometimes ignore the signs and symptoms of bleeding because they want to avoid the discomfort of treatment.⁵ You know them better than anyone else, if something seems wrong to you, call your HCP.

Treating fast

During a joint bleed, the goal is to treat fast, ideally as soon as the person recognises the “aura” effect, rather than after the onset of overt swelling and pain.¹ Repeated bleeding into the joint can lead to long term severe damage, such as wearing away of the joint, chronic inflammation and ‘arthropathy’ a form of joint disease.⁶-⁷

Early identification of muscle bleeds is vital to prevent permanent shortening of the muscle or joint, re-bleeding and other severe damage.¹

Read more about bleeding episodes and how to be prepared for a bleed in our other June blog.

Don’t forget to speak with your HCP about being able to correctly identify a bleed so that you can treat fast.

Remember, if in doubt — treat.¹

For more information, please visit the Changing Haemophilia website:


  1. World federation of hemophilia. Guidelines for the management of hemophilia. Available at: Accessed May 2018.
  2. Canadian Hemophilia Society. The symptoms of hemophilia. Available at: Accessed May 2018.
  3. Hemophilia of Georgia. Muscle Bleeds in the Arms and Legs. Available at: Accessed May 2018.
  4. National Hemophilia Foundation. Caring for your child with hemophilia. Available at: Accessed May 2018.
  5. National heart, lung and blood institute. Hemophilia — How Is Hemophilia Treated? Available at: Accessed May 2018.
  6. Luck JV, et al. Hemophilic Arthropathy. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2004;12:234–245.
  7. Hemophilia of Georgia. Untreated Bleeding in the Joints.
    Available at: 
    Accessed May 2018.