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What causes von Willebrand disease?
Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is caused by low levels of a blood-clotting factor called von Willebrand factor, and it helps blood to clot by acting as a kind of glue for platelets.
The von Willebrand factor is one of a dozen substances in the body that contribute to the coagulation of blood. Factors are often designated by Roman numerals.
What are the different types of von Willebrand disease?
There are three main types of vWD:
At the time of diagnosis, your child’s doctor will tell you which type she has and will outline the best options for vWD treatment.
Risk factors for vWD
The only risk factor for von Willebrand disease is a family history of this type of disorder. The gene responsible for the low levels of von Willebrand factor is inherited (passed down) from a parent. A parent with the gene for von Willebrand disease has a 50 percent chance of passing the gene on to his or her children.
What are the symptoms of von Willebrand disease?
Symptoms can vary a great deal depending on the type and severity of the disease. Many children with mild cases of von Willebrand disease have no visible symptoms. Others can experience symptoms such as:
When to see a doctor
You should call your doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms in your child.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”