Haemophilia is a condition where the body can’t control blood clotting, and like many disorders, it can be fairly mild, or can be a condition that’s life threatening. Although many sufferers are diagnosed in childhood, it’s important to know the symptoms of haemophilia, and to see a doctor immediately if you are concerned.
Luckily, with modern medicine, haemophilia no longer significantly affects life expectancy, and there are many things you can do, in addition to taking preventative medication, to help your body stay healthy. Here are five lifestyle tips for those who have been diagnosed.
1. Enjoy safe exercise
Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and it can help you to have a healthy weight as well as preventing spontaneous joint bleeds. Therefore, you should discuss an exercise programme with your doctor, and they will be able to help you decide what you can manage. Contact sports are obviously not a good idea, but you could consider low impact exercise such as: Swimming, Stationery bikes, Elliptical machines, Walking, hiking, Pilates.You should ensure that you stretch properly and warm up to avoid injury, and make sure you don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you are returning to exercise.
2. Eat a balanced diet
Everyone should eat a balanced diet, whether they suffer from a condition or not, but being overweight is especially harmful for those with haemophilia as it puts additional pressure on your body. Therefore, it’s essential to eat the right number of calories, and to make lifestyle changes rather than going on crash diets.
Start by watching portion sizes, and adding plenty of fruit and vegetables to your diet. Then look at ways you can improve the way you eat; for example by cutting down on fat and restricting sugary treats. You’ll soon start to have more energy, and will start to feel better in yourself.
3. Socialise safely
Suffering from haemophilia doesn’t mean you have to shut yourself in and not socialise. In fact, it’s good for your mental health to have friends, and it’s important not to let the condition rule your life. However, when it comes to socialising, there’s often alcohol involved, which can be dangerous for those with haemophilia.
It’s essential to know the effects of alcohol on haemophiliacs, and also to ensure you don’t overdo it and put yourself in a position of harm. Those who are drunk can often be accident prone, so stay within recommended limits, and switch to water if you feel wobbly.
4. See your doctor regularly
When dealing with a long term condition such as haemophilia, it’s essential to book regular check-ups, and to make sure you have time to discuss things with your doctor. There are often new medicines and treatments to improve your quality of life, so make sure your case is reviewed on a regular basis, and that your general health is closely monitored.
5. Make others aware of your condition
It’s essential to let friends and colleagues know about your condition, as if you suffer an accident they will be able to alert medical staff. You might also want to wear a medical ID tag just in case you have an accident while out on your own, and are unable to communicate your condition to paramedics.
If you start a new job, then you should have a risk assessment carried out to make sure you aren’t putting yourself in danger, especially if your role involves manual handling. The first aiders in your team should also be made aware of your condition, so that they know how to deal with any emergencies.
In the past, haemophilia was a life-limiting condition, and there was a lack of understanding about how it affected people. However, with lots of new treatments available, from daily medications to injections to help clot the blood after an accident, there’s no reason why someone with haemophilia can’t lead a normal, healthy life.
In fact, because they have to be more careful than average, many haemophiliacs are otherwise in good health, making sure they eat well and exercise regularly. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with haemophilia, or have been coping with it all your life, speaking to a doctor about making some lifestyle changes can help you keep things under control.