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NHF Praises Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for Calling Attention to Bleeding Disorders in Women

April 26, 2002

More Than One Million Undiagnosed American Women May Be at Risk for Serious Complications

The National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) today praised Congresswomen Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) for responding to our call to help raise awareness nationwide about undiagnosed bleeding disorders in women by introducing House Concurrent Resolution 380. Many women and their health care providers have little awareness of genetic bleeding disorders, which occur in as many as 1 or 2 people in 100. Undiagnosed and untreated, bleeding disorders can lead to serious health risks following surgery, injury, and childbirth.

H. Con. Res. 380 calls for appropriate screening for women and girls with excessive menstrual bleeding, a common bleeding disorder symptom, as well as for a proper evaluation prior to performing a hysterectomy to rule out the possibility of a treatable bleeding disorder. This legislation calls for women with bleeding disorders to be referred to federally sponsored hemophilia treatment centers for comprehensive treatment. In addition, it calls for the continuation of public education and outreach efforts such as the "Project Red Flag" campaign conducted by NHF and the Centers for Disease Control.

"Too many women suffer from bleeding disorders and I have at least one friend who has suffered from such a disorder, " said Congresswoman McKinney.

"Anything I can do to bring attention to this unnoticed illness will help the many women in this country who are afflicted with bleeding disorders," she said.

"We are delighted that Congresswoman McKinney is helping to bring attention to this national problem," said Dr. Paula Elbirt, Chair of NHF's Women with Bleeding Disorders Task Force. "With such strong congressional support, we hope that more and more women will be diagnosed and treated, resulting in improved health and better quality of life."

The most common bleeding disorder is von Willebrand disease (VWD), a genetic condition found in 1% to 2% of the population. Symptoms of VWD include easy bruising, frequent nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from dental work and surgery, and, in women, post-partum hemorrhaging and heavy monthly periods. Genetically transmitted from generation to generation, it is frequently undetected since women with VWD often have other family members with the same symptoms and may view them as normal. Although there is currently no cure for VWD, it can be treated effectively with medication and proper diagnosis.

NHF's Project Red Flag: Real Talk About Women's Bleeding Disorders is a national public awareness program designed to reach the millions of women with undiagnosed bleeding disorders. For more information about women's bleeding disorders or Project Red Flag, please call (800) 42-HANDI or log on to Project Red Flag receives support from.


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