The treatment of von Willebrand disease (VWD) varies depending on the type and severity of the condition. The main goal is to prevent or control bleeding episodes.
VWD is a common inherited bleeding disorder
This article looks at the treatment options for people with VWD.
The main goal of treatment for VWD is to manage bleeding symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with the condition.
Preventing bleeding episodes is particularly important for people with more severe forms of VWD or those with a history of frequent or severe bleeding. In these cases, doctors may use prophylactic treatments,
When bleeding does occur, the aim is to promptly and effectively control it. Prolonged or uncontrolled bleeding
Desmopressin, also known as DDAVP, plays a vital role in the management of VWD, especially in
As a synthetic
Healthcare professionals administer DDAVP as
Replacement therapies in VWD involve the infusion of VWF concentrates. These therapies are essential for managing more severe cases of VWD, such as type 2 and type 3, where there is a significant deficiency or dysfunction of VWF.
Doctors can use regular infusions as a prophylactic measure to help prevent bleeding or on demand to treat acute bleeding episodes.
Learn more about anticoagulant therapies.
In people assigned females at birth who have VWD, oral contraceptives play a dual role. They not only provide birth control but also help in managing heavy menstrual bleeding, a common complication in VWD.
This effect helps not only in managing symptoms but also in preventing anemia — a frequent consequence of heavy menstrual bleeding in VWD.
Learn about long-term use of oral contraceptives.
Fibrin sealants are topical agents that medical professionals use during surgical procedures to enhance local blood clot formation.
By forming a fibrin clot at the site of bleeding, fibrin sealants work effectively to control local bleeding.
This is particularly beneficial in dental procedures or surgeries where local clotting is important.
Some things people can do themselves to manage their VWD include:
- Detect bleeding early: Learn to recognize the signs of bleeding,
such asprolonged nosebleeds, heavy menstrual periods, unusual bruising, or extended bleeding from cuts.
- Respond promptly: Apply first aid measures such as pressure and ice for minor bleeding and seek medical attention for more serious or uncontrolled bleeding.
- Choose the right exercises: Engage in safe, noncontact sports and exercises to maintain good health. Avoid activities with a high risk of injury. Use appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets and knee pads, when involved in physical activities.
- Eat a balanced diet: Eat a nutritious diet,
includingiron-rich foods if there’s a history of anemia due to bleeding.
- Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is important, especially if taking desmopressin (DDAVP), which can affect fluid balance.
- Advise medical professionals: Telling doctors and dentists that a person has VWD, especially before surgeries, is essential. This way, they can
prepareand take proper precautions.
- Wear a medical bracelet: It is also important that people with VWD wear a medical bracelet to note that they have the condition. This alerts medical professionals in case of an emergency.
Here are some commonly asked questions about treatment for VWD.
Should a person eat or avoid any particular foods if they have von Willebrands?
There are no specific dietary restrictions or recommendations uniquely associated with VWD.
Should a person avoid any medications if they have the condition?
People must consult with healthcare professionals before taking new medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, as some might increase bleeding risk.
How do doctors diagnose VWB?
What is the outlook for people with von Willebrand disease? Is it a life threatening condition?
Most people with type 1 VWD lead normal lives. Regular monitoring and medical care are important for managing symptoms and preventing complications.
Many treatments are available for people with VWD. A person’s healthcare team will determine which treatment best suits their needs.
Doctors may advise a combination of different treatments to manage VWD.