Von Willebrand’s Disease





Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) can either be an inherited or acquired hematologic disorder that is characterized by a decreased level of von Willebrand factor in the blood and a prolonged bleeding time. The von Willebrand factor is a protein that aids the blood platelets to cluster together, along with factor VIII, and adhere to the blood vessel wall, as needed for blood to clot normally. There are three primary types of vWD founded on the seriousness of the defect and inadequacy of the von Willebrand factor.

This condition is the most common inherited bleeding disorder that has several subtypes of different severity. The acquired form is quite rare. It appears late in life and is generally associated with leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma or some other autoimmune disorders.

This bleeding disorder is again quite common, occurring in about 1% of the population in the United States. The defect is contained in chromosome 12, and can occur equally among men and women.



The primary cause for von Willebrand’s disease is the defect (inherited in a autosomal dominant manner) in the gene that manages the von Willebrand factor. When this protein in the blood becomes low in number or has a structural defect, the blood platelets cannot function properly in terms of their blood clotting responsibilities. This occurrence results in a defective clotting process, causing bleeding that may be difficult to control or manage.

In rare cases, von Willebrand’s disease can be acquired by individuals who have not inherited the defective gene from their parents. This is apparently the fourth type of the disease, and its causes are largely unknown. Theories believe that it could probably arise from an autoimmune response, a hormonal imbalance, or as a response to certain types of medications.


Signs and Symptoms

For most people who are affected with von Willebrand’s disease, their condition present very mild signs and symptoms, or they can be asymptomatic. Once the symptoms do manifest, they can vary in seriousness depending on the type of von Willebrand’s disease present in their system.

Since it is a bleeding disorder, the most common sign of von Willebrand’s disease is abnormal bleeding episodes which can differ in intensity.

Bleeding occurring abnormally that can be connected to von Willebrand’s disease can ensue as:

  • Bleeding gums;
  • Repeated and/or persistent nosebleeds;
  • Intense bleeding from cuts or wounds;
  • Profuse bleeding after a dental procedure;
  • Presence of blood in the urine or fecal matter;
  • Bleeding from minor injuries such as paper cuts or razor nicks; and
  • Excessive and prolonged menstrual flow (with blood clots) in women.

Individuals who have von Willebrand’s disease may also be subjected to easy bruising and formation of lumps under the skin. They may also undergo the same symptoms of having anemia such as weakness and easy fatigability.



VonWillebrand’s disease has two major treatmentpossibilities: desmopressin (DDAVP) therapy and blood component transfusion.

Desmopressin or DDVAP is the treatment of choice for people who are affected with type I and type II von Willebrand’s disease. This medication is a synthetic hormone that is quite similar to vasopressin. This controls the bleeding episodes by encouraging the body to produce more von Willebrand factor and augmenting the number of factor VIII. Desmopressin comes in two forms: IV injections and nasal sprays

If the first course of treatment doesn’t work, physicians turn to replacement therapy to augment the depleting number of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII in the blood. Infusions of FVIII concentrate that also contains the von Willebrand factor can be given in prepared doses. This is particularly helpful in the more serious forms of the condition.


Disability Tax Credits for Von Willebrand’s Disease

Even though von Willebrand’s disease is a lifelong condition, affected individuals can still live a potentially long, fulfilling life. If you have been diagnosed with this ailment, you can make your life more meaningful by subscribing to a disability tax refund from the Canadian Revenue Agency. Allow the process to become easy for you by soliciting the help of one of our HandyTax representatives. He can walk you through the process of filing your claim so you can enjoy your disability tax refund as soon as possible.